A traveling exhibit with the Smithsonian is coming to Windsor.
Beginning today, the Windsor Art & Heritage Center will host a Spanish/English exhibit on the bracero program, the largest Mexican guest-worker program in American history. The Town of Windsor Museum submitted an application and was selected by the Smithsonian to host the exhibit, which will be on display through Jan. 27 and includes oral histories, quotes and photographs by Leonard Nadel, a famous photographer who documented mistreatment of bracero workers in 1956. After it stops in Windsor, the exhibit will continue on to museums across the country on a two-year tour.
During World War II, the United States entered into an agreement with Mexico to allow railroad and field workers to fulfill a labor shortage the U.S. experienced during the war effort, said Priscilla Falcón, a professor of Hispanic studies at the University of Northern Colorado. The resulting bracero program, which lasted from 1942-64 and brought 4.6 million temporary workers to the U.S., was also a part of the economy in northern Colorado, Falcón said.
Curiously, the first several years of the program brought about 2,000 Jamaican laborers to the area, she said.
“Bracero” comes from the Spanish word for arm, Falcón said. “It was a labor-intensive program.”
Weather permitting, she said several braceros from northern Colorado will share their stories at the exhibit’s opening ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Saturday following her presentation of the program.