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

What the American Flag Means to Me

Today’s short essay by Michelle Burge brings an example of constant elements in Filipino American culture that can sustain and strengthen us.  Some of us see the modern world as changing frenetically. People too seem to be rapidly changing. In a tech connected world we still have cultural symbols and artifacts to hold and ground us.  We can be humanly connected through these symbols, their history and our personal relationships as well. Resting on the American flag is something to be remembered.  Michelle wrote her essay thirteen years ago on the flag. It still waves relevantly today with the many struggles and ideals that people desire for being American.
– FANHS Seattle

Flags_national mall

“What the American Flag Means to Me”

I was born on Flag Day, 38 years ago.  The American Flag represents many things to me.  I remember being little and asking my mother why the flags were out on my birthday.  Her answer, “they know it’s your birthday and they want to celebrate”.  Shortly thereafter, I learned the truth.  However, I still have that child-like wonder when I see the flag flying high on June 14!
Continue reading “What the American Flag Means to Me”

Throwback Thursday: A Kid’s Yo-Yo

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 “Throwback Thursday: A Kid’s Yo-Yo”