Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture
Abstract of Interview
CONSULTANT: Jared “Jed” Howard
OF BIRTH: April 25, 1934
OF INTERVIEW: October 12, 2000
OF INTERVIEW: Howard residence, Carlsbad, New Mexico
OF INTERVIEW: NMF&RHM_x__ __OTHER__________
TRANSCRIBED: YES___ x____
OF TAPES: One
ABSTRACTED: April 20, 2001
OF RECORDING (SPECIFY): Very good
AND CONTENT NOTE: Childhood reminiscences of World War II (WWII) and the
prisoner of war (POW) camp located near Carlsbad. Some discussion of the relations between the European
American majority and the African American and Hispanic population of the
(IMPORTANT TOPICS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE):
TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE:
was in the second grade when WWII began. His
father worked for the local irrigation district, and consequently was given a
gasoline allotment to travel throughout Eddy County gathering governmental
statistics on the cotton harvest. His
father didn’t discuss much about his work at home.
suffered a “major tragedy” during WWII, as their National Guard unit was
“virtually all wiped out in the . . . Bataan Death March.”
German immigrant grandparents moved to New Mexico shortly before World War I,
and “felt they . . . suffered . . . a great deal of animosity and . . .
unfairness in their treatment.”
believes the POW camp in Carlsbad was established in early 1944.
It was located in an old CCC camp (the buildings of the larger CCC camp
were moved to the airbase in Carlsbad during WWII) in a “fairly unoccupied
area,” outside the city limits three or four miles.
consultant’s clearest memory of the POWs was watching them play soccer on
Sunday afternoon when his family and others from Carlsbad drove to the camp to
watch the soccer match.
Howard talked to a man who had lived with his family at Haroun Farms (eighteen
miles south of Carlsbad) during WWII. Haroun
Farms also employed POWs, however, he now believes that the POWs were trucked
out there from Carlsbad and were not housed there.
Some of the children at Haroun Farms communicated with the POWs until
they were warned not to. There was
a belief by some that the POWs wished to examine the children’s schoolbooks in
order to determine how close they were to the Mexican border.
to the war the cotton in the valley was harvested by a large number of Hispanic
migrant farm workers and workers from Mexico, who tended “to stay . . . sorta
hidden away in
the 1940s the African American population in Carlsbad comprised five percent of
the population, Hispanics twenty-five percent of the population.
They lived in segregated areas of the town, and “tended to not have the
opportunity to get anything above menial jobs.” He states, “there was a long-standing tradition that . . .
a person took his life in his hands to be in Carlsbad after dark if he wasn’t
white . . . we’re in what’s called ‘Little Texas.’” The first Hispanic graduated from high school in 1938.
Schools were integrated in Carlsbad in 1952, not long before the Supreme
Court decision that mandated integration. He
concludes, “. . . this was not an easy place for minorities.”
consultant describes an escape by two prisoners of war, who were found by a
local rancher. He marched them back
to camp, riding horseback and holding a rifle on them.
Howard says, “ . . . there was some question in the community why [he]
. . . didn’t simply shoot them.”
soldiers were being repatriated rapidly back into communities by 1945, “we
were having parties . . . welcoming them back.”
There was much anti-Japanese feeling in Carlsbad that lasted a
He recalls hearing mostly about the war on his grandparents’ radio at their farm in Loving. The war was a major event in their lives.
Return to list of oral history consultants
send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rio Grande Historical Collections * New Mexico State University Library MSC 3475 * P.O. Box 30006 * Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-3006 ** Telephone: 505-646-3839 FAX: 505-646-7477