William Tenison
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 Community History Project

William "Bill" Tenison


William Tenison returned to Yuma County, Arizona in 1951 to farm his father's land. During
World War II, prisoners of war had worked the farm. The farm experienced a labor shortage
after the war and turned to the Bracero Program to fill the gap. Mr. Tenison remembers hiring 10-12 Bracero workers from 1951 to approximately 1957/1958 to help with irrigating, weeding, and planting.

Overall, Mr. Tenison explains that the program was a great benefit to his farm and was a positive experience. He recalls stories of the men playing baseball with his children during the midday break and of hot chile cooking contests with a man named Lupe. He sums up his experience with the program by saying, "I guess you can recap it by saying: they wanted work; they needed work; they wanted to send money back to Mexico to help their families; and hopefully they were going to learn how to do something better so when they went back to Mexico…they could perform."

Click on the following links to access the oral history audio file and transcript.

William Tenison oral history audio file

William Tenison transcript

William "Bill" Tenison

photos courtesy of the Tenison family