Photo Essay: California Farmworker – LeRoy
Syndic Literary Journal

Photo Essay: California Farmworker – Delano Manong

A DELANO MANONG
 
Photo by Hub Segur (c.1972)
 
(“Manong” is a Filipino word of respect for an older man).
 
I first met the Delano Manongs – we called them “the Filipino Brothers” in those days – in 1965 after they had organized a work strike against the Delano area table grape growers. Their demand? Union recognition.
 
As farmworkers, they were officially excluded in 1935 from any protections of national labor legislation, and without labor rights, they endured a life of servitude. In the 20s and 30s, as young men they had been recruited from the Philippines as a source of cheap labor for California’s largest industry, agribusiness.
 
Not permitted to marry or to own property, they lived in bunkhouses or camps on the grower’s property, or in shacks on the fringes of Delano and Stockton, and they followed the harvest of table grapes, asparagus and other crops throughout California.
 
The exploitation of Filipino farmworkers – second only to slavery, I think – has been a shameful chapter in our nation’s history and needs to be documented . . . and repaired.
 

 

Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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