Filipino Americans - Bits of History
More than 150,000 Filipinos immigrated to the United States from the Philippines between 1906 and 1935, in search of the American Dream. Facing discrimination and hard times here in California and all along the West Coast, thousands of Filipinos worked in agricultural fields, in the service industry, and in other low paying jobs.
Even though they endured a racist pre-war climate and weren't even considered U.S. citizens, Filipinos in America rallied to join the American war effort after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In 1942, an executive order was signed which allowed Filipinos to join the U.S. Army and form a volunteer all-Filipino unit.
The war provided the opportunity for Filipinos to fight for the United States and prove their loyalty as Americans. At top strength the Regiments, known as "California's Own," numbered 7,000 strong.
The stories of these brave men are told in the film An Untold Triumph: The Story of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, U.S. Army.
The Delano Manongs tells the story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). While the movement is known for Cesar Chavez’s leadership and considered a Chicano movement, Filipinos played a pivotal role. Filipino labor organizer, Larry Itliong, a cigar-chomping union veteran, organized a group of 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California, beginning a collaboration between Filipinos, Chicanos and other ethnic workers that would go on for years.
For some 3.4 million Americans of Philippine ancestry, October is Filipino American History Month. For it was 427 years ago on this day - October 18, 1587 - that the first Filipinos, or "Luzon Indios" as we were known back then, arrived in what is now the United States on a Spanish galleon near Morro Bay, CA - some 33 years before Pilgrims from England arrived at Plymouth Rock.
San Diego isn't the only Little Manila! Filipino Americans form the largest Asian American subgroup in San Diego County, at almost 6% of the entire county population. Read more and find other U. S. Cities and Countries that have a significant population of Filipino Americans here.