I was up in Los Gatos so I thought I’d try to find a song with Los Gatos in the lyrics. “Plane Crash at Los Gatos” was the only one I could find. It’s by Woody Guthrie about a January 28, 1948 crash of a plane near Los Gatos Canyon. The New York Time’s report he read gave the name of the crew but didn’t contain the names of the other victims lumping them together as “deportees”. This outraged Guthrie so he wrote this song. Actually most of the victims were part of the “braceros” program and were legal temporary workers returning home. The program was instituted after WWII as they needed workers. In that program, if the contractor who hired the braceros did not return their workers to Mexico after the contract was done, the government would step in to return them.
With the furor over the wall, the song is being sung again with a new title “Deportees”
I like this modern version better. In this video, the names of the victims are shown. In this video, Tim Z. Hernandez, a poet, performed with the group. He did research to find all the names of the victims, raising the money for a memorial. Their names on a headstone was unveiled in Fresno September 2013.
This version starts off with an explanation of the event, the bracero program and Guthrie’s writing of the event. He also talks about his family who were field works in the USA and why that song means a lot to him. Very heartfelt.