In his book “America is in the Heart: A Personal History,” the great Filipino-American writer Carlos Bulosan wrote about the dire straits of Filipino farm workers like himself in the United States. “I came to know afterward that in many ways, it was a crime to be a Filipino in California,” Bulosan wrote. “It was the year of the great hatred: the lives of Filipinos were cheaper than those of dogs.”
Between 1910 and 1930, wave upon wave of young Filipino men came to America and found work mostly in its fields and canneries. In California they labored to help tame and develop the land, but their heroic efforts are barely acknowledged in recollections of the state’s history. But a significant step has recently been taken: The important role of Filipino-Americans in California’s labor history will now be taught in school.