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Between 1942 and 1964, an estimated 2 million Mexican men came to the United States on short-term labor contracts to help fill the labor shortages on farms and railroads caused by World War II. This bracero in Salinas, California holds a short-handled hoe.

Furthering their mission to educate vistiors about the dangers of racial prejudice and discrimination, Holocaust Museum Houston will present their first ever bilingual exhibit this December. Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964, presented entirely in both Spanish and English, explores the largest guest worker program in the history of the United States.

During and after World War II, the Bracero (Spanish for "manual labor") Program brought millions of Mexican immigrants to the United States on short-term work contracts. While marketed as an opportunity for a new life, workers faced back-breaking jobs and poor living conditions while being stripped of their legal and civil liberties. The program was eventually repealed in the 1964, but photographer Leonard Nadel documented the exploitation of workers across the country with his photography from 1956, which is on display.

With immigration being one of the hottest topics from this year’s election, Bittersweet Harvest is as timely and relevant as ever, providing a history lesson and new perspective on past and current racially-charged discrimination.

Visitors will be exposed to a history that is not commonly taught in grade schools," says Holocaust Museum Houston executive director Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga. "It's also an examination of the experiences of the bracero workers and their families, providing rich insight into Mexican American history and historical background to today’s debates on guest worker programs.” 

Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964

Dec 8—May 14. Opening night: free; general admission: $12. Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline St. 713-942-8000. hmh.org

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Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964

Up to $12 Holocaust Museum Houston

Holocaust Museum Houston will present their first ever bilingual exhibit this December. Presented entirely in both Spanish and English, the exhibit explores ...