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Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964: Atkins Library Online Resources

This is an online educational guide including resources and lesson plans that will help you integrate the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibition and program into your curriculum.

Featured Film: The Guestworker

When President Bush and some members of Congress proposed guest worker programs as part of new immigration reform legislation, it was as though nothing like this had existed before. Yet since 1986, thousands of Mexican men have legally entered the United States to work here, because of the little known H-2A guestworker program, put in effect during the Reagan years. Filmed on both sides of the border, the documentary chronicles the life of such farm-workers while looking at the issues surrounding the program. The film focuses on a 66-year-old Mexican farmer, Candelario Moreno Gonzales, who works on the tobacco, cucumber and pepper fields of the Western Farms in North Carolina.

Did you know...

  • Community members can borrow materials from Atkins Library by purchasing a community borrower card.
  • UNC Charlotte Alumni can apply for an alumni card to gain free access to the print library collection. 
  • UNC Charlotte Alumni have free access to JSTOR through the alumni portal.
  • Community members can access Atkins Library online resources from the guest computers in Atkins Library.

Films on Demand

Films included in Films on Demand that you can assign your students to watch in class or as part of an assignment.

Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program (2010)
Shedding light on the current debate over immigration reform and the use of “guest workers” in American agriculture...

Access: Atkins Library
Access: Public Library (CML)

A Walled America (2006)
Using voices from both sides of the illegal immigration debate, this documentary examines the prevalence of vigilante groups that patrol the U.S. border and looks at the rising power of anti-immigration lobbyists.

Access: Atkins Library
Access: Public Library (CML)

Mexican Migrant Farm Laborers Immigrate to the United States ca. 1950
Short clips (1:17) of Mexican migrant farm laborers from the WPA Film Library.

Access: Atkins Library
Access: Public Library (CML)

Movers & Company: Fighting for Farmworkers (2013)
Despite miracles of agricultural progress and innovation over the decades, the harsh lives and working conditions of migrant laborers have changed very little...

Access: Atkins Library
Access: Public Library (CML)

El Contrato: The Contract (2003)
Mexican citizens working in the United States and Canada can face difficult conditions, even when they are employed legally...

Access: Atkins Library
Access: Public Library (CML)

The San Miguel Gate and Issues in US Immigration Policy: Dan Rathers Reports on Immigration (2013)

Access: Atkins Library
Access: Public Library (CML)

Newspapers and magazines

Congressional Documents

Scholarly articles and books