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About Filipino American History


The Filipinos
Second from left, the person with the bow tie is Antonio Gonzales, who was the director of the Filipino Community Center in Chicago during the late 1930s. He was elected President of the Filipino Inter-Community Organizations of America in 1949. The man next to Mr. Gonzales is Juan Dionisio, who served as Director of the Philippine Resident Commissioner’s Office of the Pacific Coast from 1945, when he joined the Diplomatic Corps of the new Philippine Republic in late 1946. In the 1960s Mr. Dionisio was Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan and later Iran. Both men were very active in all phases of Filipino American community affairs during the 1930s and 1940s.

The Indians
Second from right in striped suit is Dr. Anoop Singh of New York, who later was elected from his home state in India to the Indian Parliament. He died in 1967. 3rd from right is Sardar J.J. Singh, son of the Deputy Commissioner in his home district of Peshawar, Punjab. He was a Washington DC businessman and President of the India League (formed in the U.S. to draw attention to India’s struggle for freedom from British rule). 4th from right has been identified by different people as Syed Hussain or as Asaf Ali. All agree he was a New York lawyer paid by the India Congress Association of California farmers to lobby Congressman Luce and Congressman Celler to introduce a bill to restore naturalization rights to Indians.

1946: A Turning Point

The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) announces “1946: A Turning Point”  as the theme for this year’s 2016 Filipino American History Month.  The theme was chosen to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of several notable events and pieces of legislation that transformed the lives of Filipinos in the Philippines and in the United States in 1946 such as the following:

  • The Rescission Act of 1946 barred veterans in the Philippines from receiving GI Bill benefits
  • The Luce-Celler Bill on July 2, 1946 granted access to naturalization for all Filipinos who had come to the United States before March 1934 and for all Indian immigrants in the United States, however Filipino and Indian immigration was limited to 100 per year.
  • Philippine independence from the United States was granted on July 4, 1946.

Please see The Significance of 1946 for Filipina/o Americans By Dr. Dawn B. Mabalon, Associate Professor, Dept. of History, SFSU

The Significance of 1946 for Filipina/o Americans

National Scholar, Filipino American National Historical Society for more information.

October’s significance as Filipino American History Month is due to the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States when on October 18, 1587, “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esparanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California.

In November of 2009, both the United States House of Representatives and Senate passed laws – House Resolution 780 and Senate Resolution 298 respectively, officially recognizing October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Various states, counties and cities in the U.S. have since followed suit and have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month in their regions. The late Dr. Fred Cordova, who along with his wife Dorothy founded FANHS, first introduced October as Filipino American History Month in 1992 with a resolution from the FANHS National Board of Trustees.

Throughout the nation, the thirty-four FANHS Chapters, colleges and universities, museums, and other community groups, will be commemorating Filipino American History Month with various activities and events to bring awareness of the valuable contributions Filipinos have made to the fabric of American society.

Suggested Commemoration Activities