Filipino Americans in Washington State

The Filipino Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest ( commissioned Pereda Yano Productions to produce a short video for its celebration of Filipino American History Month on October 6th. The FCCPNW President Tony Ogilvie wanted to highlight the history and legacy of Filipino Americans in Washington State. With permission from Dr. Dorothy Cordova, Founder/Executive Director of Filipino American National Historical Society, we showcased archival images from the FANHS collection to give a historical overview of Filipino Americans in Washington State. The Honorable Dolores Sibonga narrates OUR story in this 8-minute video.


Event Gallery: Seattle Manongs – Delano Manongs Screening

FANHS Seattle screened “Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farmworkers” Hing Hay Coworks on 05/19/2016. We were honored to have in attendance Emmy Award Winning Director Marissa Aroy, Richard Gurtiza, and Rey Pascua.  Our attendees spanned generations from young to old, and reached across the ethnic diversity of Seattle.  We are proud to have shared a Filipino narrative of American labor history with our community for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Through education and collaboration we are achieving inclusion and unity in our historical efforts.

Thank you! – Project Lead, Devin Israel Cabanilla MBA

Music Video Recap with music from DAKILA – “Makibaka”

Event Photography by Joel Aguiar with Media4Movement.

Honoring Vietnam Veterans Day 03/29

Today we recognize Vietnam Veterans Day – 03/29 FANHS Seattle has been conducting new oral interviews with Filipino American Vets who served in Vietnam. See a sample video of oral history interviews below. Thank you to our documentarians @peredayano @johnragudos and our servicemen/women: Alcantara, Alfonso, Domingo Quebral, Dumlao, Divina, Roberson Hodge, Navarro, Visaya, Presas.


See some of our oral history accounts at the sample video below. Come to FANHS HQ for more in depth histories.

A Brown Story Behind the Photograph

The Seattle Times front page had my friend and fellow history partner Dr. Joe Castleberry alongside a vintage photo.  He’s making waves in American Conservative circles for his Pro-Immigration stance and his love of Hispanic America.  For the political spin read the Sunday article. For the historical background on the vintage photo he’s in front of, read below.

Why are there Filipinos in that picture?

Vintage Filipinos with President Joseph Castleberry at Northwest University, Seattle Times.

This extremely giant wall image is Northwest University’s first student body picture found in their prayer room at the Kirkland campus.  The brown men you can spot are Filipinos from Ilocano speaking regions of the Philippines, which is typical of the American “Manong” diaspora.  In 1934 Northwest’s school was in the Roosevelt (Hollywood) neighborhood of Seattle in what is now Cavalry Assembly alongside I-5.  This was very far from the confines of Chinatown where Filipino Americans were segregated to, and in a Seattle where racial covenants denied them residency. They were the first People of Color  at the school and were part of it’s forming foundation.

Example of racial intolerance against Filipino American migrant workers from early 20th century.

The nature of the school’s ethnic immigrant composition is important because it defied the institutional racism and violent bigotry of the era. It shows a school founded by immigrants, of people who did not look the same, but were bound together by radical convictions in their new Christian faith.  At the same time Christianity is a reason why this dynamic Filipino American history is so little known, because Filipinos are normally seen as Catholic.

One larger reason why Filipino immigrants were connected and admitted to the school is because of Pacific Northwest labor industries.  Census evidence I’ve found shows that all of these early Filipino students came to the United States as migrant laborers.  They worked the same jobs as Norwegian immigrant workers in the Northwest.  Pentecostalism grew amongst Norwegians, and the school’s first President Henry H. Ness was also a Norwegian immigrant.  Evidence at FANHS National Archives shows Filipinos & Norwegians as fellow loggers and lumber mill laborers in the local region.  Additionally, many Filipinos worked in the fishing and cannery industry with Swedes and Norwegians.  As the fervor of Christian revivalism  grew among these European immigrants, it carried along to their fellow co-workers in Asian immigrants as well.

1938 Senior Class, Northwest University Archives.
1938 Senior Class photo, Northwest University Archives.

Maybe six years ago I was walking the school halls and noticed an image of Filipinos peppered into the student body picture of Northwest University. I thought it would have been impossible to figure out who they were.  As I dug into better research a couple years ago, I found the story of NU’s Filipino students to be amazing considering their freedom and how they were later celebrated in their denomination.  Since then, I’ve brought audiences with me through the past about connections between the Manong Generation, Seattle’s Chinatown, and the Assemblies of God (AG). I’m glad to share some of the finer points again.

Continue reading “A Brown Story Behind the Photograph”

Cecilia Suyat Marshall: A Blessed Life in Civil Rights

Here is a video interview of Filipina American Cecilia “Cissy” Suyat Marshall reflecting on her life, husband Thurgood Marshall, and experiences at the NAACP.

“We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still a long way to go.” – Cissy

Cecilia Suyat went to Columbia University to study as a stenographer and then became an employee at the NAACP where she met many influential people working towards civil rights.  She reflects on working in the New York offices of the NAACP as a blessing, possibly from her guardian angel.  Although they were working towards equality, she was fearful of Thurgood Marshall’s marriage proposal to her.  Although not black or white, many people still treated her as a foreigner. Her sons are Thurgood Marshall Jr. and John W. Marshall.

Thank you to all our FANHS members and our African American supporters who recognize and remember the shared race issues that Black and Brown people have gone through during this October: Filipino American History Month. #FAHM (See FANHS Seattle prior statement on #BlackLivesMatter here)

An All American Family
An All American Family
This interview is from the Library of Congress, conducted on June 30th 2013 by Emilye Crosby.  Only 435 people have viewed this YouTube video as of this posting.  Share Cecilia’s voice this FAHM. Thanks, dc