Navy Blacks/Filipinos Signage; FANHS National Archives, Seattle
February is recognized as Black History Month (African American History) throughout the United States. The picture posted for this Throwback Thursday is a stark reminder that race issues and concerns experienced by Black people have been intertwined with Brown people as well. People of Color have been part of the U.S. military services for generations and continue to proudly serve beyond the difficult circumstances they faced in our institutions and past systems of segregation.
The artifact pictured above was brought to light to me by FANHS trustee Pio DeCano during a recent conversation about race relations. We both recognized the value of bringing awareness and recognition to the shared struggles our communities have gone through together. It can be easy to forget, but these dark touchstones of the past are necessary as we navigate into the light of the future.
More artifacts and documents around Filipino American history can be found at the Pinoy National Archives in Seattle. Please visit us, and also be on the lookout for future events around Black/Brown history this month.
We’re going far back with this post, all the way to August of the year 2014.
This post is about you Greater Seattle FANHS, and the time we had at the Kona Kai Resort for the national conference. There was a large contingent of us from Seattle for the conference. See the Storify below to travel down summer memory lane.
Share your great memories of any past conferences in the comments section.
If you’ve enjoyed exploring our Seattle events and online posts during this Filipino American History Month, we want you to join our membership or volunteer with FANHS Greater Seattle throughout the year!
Thanks for FAHM2014 everyone! TBT posts will convert to a monthly series.
In 1922 flyweight boxer Francisco Guilledo won the American Championship over Johnny Buff in Brooklyn. The knockout victory was favorably covered by the New York Times. By the summer of 1923 Guilledo became the World Champion after defeating Welsh fighter Jimmy Wilde. Guilledo was also known by his boxing name “Pancho Villa”. He is considered the first World Champion out of Asia. Throughout the 1920’s Pancho Villa’s boxing career took him through places like Australia, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and of course Manila.
Back then the Philippines was a U.S. Territory, and Filipinos were considered American Nationals. There was a steady flow of commerce and interaction across the Pacific. One aspect of sports history was that the “sweet science” was brought over from the Seattle area by Eddie Tait of Tacoma to the Philippines. So Filipino boxing has its origins from the Pacific Northwest. Although Tait and his partners have been characterized as proto-Don Kings or profiteers, without them Filipino boxing may have come later. From Greater Seattle: “You’re welcome Manny Pacquiao.”
Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guillerdo is now part of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Watch Pancho Villa’s 1923 World Championship Fight HERE.
by Devin Cabanilla
In music history DJ NastyNes Rodriguez can be located at the foundation for hip hop growth in Seattle. His Posse was on Broadway helping the scene happen in a pre-digital Seattle age. He ran radio shows, produced NASTYMIX Records, and worked with many local artists. This transpired in a time where music was on cassettes, vinyl, or radio only. (MTV wasn’t big yet. Don’t even try imagining iTunes.) Nes was honored by FANHS in 1992 with the Very Important Pinoy award for his contributions. When you look back at early Seattle hip hop history, Nes was there for hip hop culture.
“Not only am I the first (West Coast Rap show) DJ, but a Filipino DJ and reppin’ the 206!” – Nes Rodriguez
1985 Filipino Youth Activities Washington D.C. Tour Benefit Dance Flyer, FANHS Archive
The First Modern Yo-Yo by Pedro Flores
My 5-yr old son began playing awkwardly with a Yo-Yo recently. I began showing him the tricks I’d learned as a kid. My uncle taught me how to “walk the dog”, and do “the cradle” trick moves. It was a wonderful place of nostalgia for me. Throwback Thursdays posts are all about fun nostalgia and a chance to remember the little things in life. However, in the larger scheme of history it is often forgotten that the Yo-Yo was popularized by Filipino Americans and shaped modern Americana!
The primary twirler who brought the Yo-Yo into the mainstream was Filipino Pedro Flores. In the 1920’s a Yo-Yo probably sold for around 10 cents. Flores opened different factories making wooden Yo-yo’s and was the main innovator for using a slip-string on the axle to extend spin for trick moves. Donald Duncan saw a child playing with a Flores Yo-Yo and decided to later work with Pedro Flores. By the 1930’s Duncan eventually bought full ownership of the enterprise and created Duncan Yo-Yo. Today, a single mint condition Flores Yo-Yo is worth $2,000, while Duncan Yo-Yo’s are now a dime a dozen. Continue reading