"POSITIVELY NO FILIPINOS ALLOWED"
A discriminating sign at the entrance of a hotel
I always had this belief that I know my country's history pretty well. But that all changed when I went to see Singgalot: The Ties That Bind currently on display at Charlotte Museum of History. It is a touring exhibit by Smithsonian Institution highlighting Filipinos not well-publicized history in America. A crucial piece of information that never made it into our textbooks in school growing up in the Philippines. A truly revealing information that brought me mix feelings of pride, dismay and disbelief...
Dismay and disbelief discovering that we, Filipinos, back in time were also discriminated and was the target of racial attacks including injustice on human rights, so suffered and endured by the black race for years! This truly crushed my heart. It brought back snippets of memories of some shocking informations that I learned from when I visited the RACE exhibit earlier this year. It's ironic how similar circumstances ends with the same results irregardless of time. With the influx of Filipinos in the US, Americans during that time began to protest, accusing Filipinos with "stealing" jobs from them, including their women. How so familiar and similar with the issue Hispanics are being accused of in today's generation.
But I felt pride in knowing that Filipinos had been a part of America's great history as far back as 1565. The year where first Filipinos arrived in Morro Bay, California on board the Manila Galleon Ship Nuestra Senora de Esperanza. These Filipinos were brought in as workers to help fill the agricultural demands of the West Coast. Their added manpower helped grow the agribusiness and canning industries of the country. From California, Louisiana to Hawaii and as far reaching as Alaska!
|Florentino Ravelo and other three Filipino men work on railroad tracks |
in Montana, 1920. Photo courtesy of Estrella Elamar
I never realized how significantly big the contribution of Filipinos were in the history of the US yet it seem like there is so little known about Filipinos in the land they helped shape. Once called "Nationals" of this country but was never given the right to become citizens. Singgalot is a very humbling, yet heartfelt story of endurance, suffering and success of Filipinos in the midst of American adversity. One that will truly make you proud to be a Filipino!
Singgalot is truly a must-see exhibit for the entire family and a great introduction to our Filipino heritage to your kids who are born in the US. Don't miss this opportunity! The exhibit's next venue will be in Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, CA.
The exhibit in Charlotte will run until October 16, 2011. The next Family FREE day is on Saturday, October 1st. You'll enjoy programs, festivities, activities for kids and a taste of Filipino foods (for purchase)! Me and my family are going back - that's for sure! You'd be crazy not to take advantage of it!
Regular Admission to the Museum:
$5 Students & Senior Citizens
$3 Children ages 6-12
Children under age 6 free
For more information: Visit Charlotte Museum of History online at http://www.charlottemuseum.org
Filipino Organization in Charlotte: FACC Filipino-American Community of the Carolinas Inc.
Note: This is not a sponsored post.