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

Week Two Highlights of FAHM Seattle 2015

October 5th: King County Council declares October Filipino American History Month – Filipino history in North America predates the arrival of the first colonists from Great Britain and continues throughout the U.S. The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized that rich tradition and heritage by declaring this October, “and every October thereafter,” Filipino American History Month in King County.

“It is an honor to be the sponsor of this proclamation, since the district I represent has been the historic home of the Filipino community in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. County,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, the sponsor of the recognition. “Most people do not realize that Filipinos have been in the US longer over 400 years or the contributions that Filipino Americans have made through their labor, public service and heroic war time sacrifices while serving their country.”

King County Council Proclaims October FAHM
King County Council Proclaims October FAHM

The first documented proof of Filipino presence in what would become the United States was in 1587 in what is now California, almost a half-century prior to when the colonists arrived in the “new world.”

October 9th: Filipino American activists and artists Chera Amlag and George “Geo” Quibuyen were honored by the Northwest Asian Weekly on Oct 9th with Visionary Awards. They were introduced by Joaquin Uy, Ethnic Media & Communications Specialist of City of Seattle Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs. (Photo by Ador Pereda Yano)
http://www.nwasianweekly.com/…/food-and-sh-to-consider-fil…/Chera Amlag & Geo Quibuyen

Chera Amlag & Geo Quibuyen

James Tabafunda, Northwest Asian Weekly:
“Business owners Chera Amlag and George “Geo” Quibuyen know quite a lot about leadership and activism – universal human connection, in other words. The husband-and-wife team work as volunteer community organizers who are not only interested in social change but also in showing that their ideas can help make that change happen.”

October 10th:
FANHS Celebrated with a reception and program to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. In recognition of Filipino Americans and their families, who arrived after the enactment of this important immigration law that transformed and enriched our communities nationwide.

Several lifetimes achievement awards were issued to community leaders who have significantly impacted Seattle: current Seattle University President Steven Sundborg, former FCS President Dolly Castillo, and InterIm Community Development Association former Executive Director Bob Santos.

Seattle University Campion Ballroom

This annual event was put together by the Seattle University’s United Filipino Club and FANHS National; the event  also marks October as Filipino American National History Month. #FAHM

Dolly Castillo & Bob Santos

FilAm Fact: After arriving from Europe in October 1900, celebrated author Mark Twain announced himself as an anti-imperialist.  Twain was at the forefront of modern Filipino American history as a proponent of democratic rights for Filipinos.  In 1901 he became Vice-President of the Anti-Imperialist League and held the position for the remainder of his life. http://goo.gl/YPrSj4

Week One Highlights of FAHM Seattle 2015

October 2nd: Dorothy Cordova traveled from Seattle to Washington D.C. for the White House’s celebration of Filipino American History Month event. #FAHM #FAHM2015 #FAHMseattle

Mel Orpilla recognized both Dorothy and Fred Cordova.  Additionally, President Barack Obama gave a message to them recognizing FAHM. This was the first celebration ever of Filipino American History by the White House. View video link here.

October 3rd daytime: the Filipino American Vietnam Veterans Oral History Project & Puget Sound Marine Corps League: “Alaska Airlines hosted a 50th Commemorative of the Vietnam War event along with the USO and Boeing. Alfie Alvarado, Director – Washington Department of Veteran Affairs, gave a thoughtful keynote speech that received a standing ovation. Among the attendees were Marines and Corpsman from Puget Sound Marine Corps League Detachment 336… All attendees were pinned and issued a Challenge Coin.”

Filipino American Vietnam Veterans Oral History Project
Filipino American Vietnam Veterans Oral History Project

October 3rd evening: FANHS Greater Seattle was in attendance for the “FYA Generations” fundraiser dinner along Lake Union.  The Filipino Youth Activities Drill Team is the first, oldest, and longest running Filipino American drill team in the United States. It was cofounded in 1959 by Fred Cordova.  We are glad to support the new generations of the FYA and their guidance by Chris and others.


FilAm Fact: Thurgood Marshall’s family is Filipino American.  His wife was Cecilia Suyat, and his sons are John & Thurgood Jr.  The past week in history also coincides with Thurgood Marshall’s birthday, the beginning of oral arguments on the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, and Marshall’s appointment as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
The Marshall Family