Philip Vera Cruz and Carlos Bulosan in Filipino American History
For about half of the twentieth-century history of the Philippines was tightly connected with that of the United States. It was a period of American colonization of the Philippines when hundreds of thousands of the country’s population immigrated to the US in search of better and more successful life. However, what expected these immigrants were hard work, low salaries, and racial violence. Nevertheless, Filipino Americans continued to struggle for better life and working conditions. Among them there are two men who stand out because of their important contributions to the history of Filipino Americans. They are Philip Vera Cruz and Carlos Bulosan.
Having the same reasons of moving to the US and facing similar struggles, these men developed their own individualities and turned into outstanding figures in Asian American historyPhilip Vera Cruz was born in 1904 in the province Ilocos Sur, the Philippines. Because of the deplorable economic state in his home country and influence of American dream Vera Cruz decided to move to the US in order to provide for his family (Scharlin & Villanueva xxi). Upon his arrival to America, Vera Cruz worked in various jobs like in a box factory and a hotel and as a busboy and a beet harvester across numerous states, until he finally ended up as a farm worker in California (Wong 4). There, Vera Cruz worked 9-10 hours a day in the scorching heat, but earned only seventy cents an hour and lived in labor camps with their poor conditions. Because of such working conditions Filipino Americans organized strikes, in which Vera Cruz took part. He then joined the National Farm Labor Union and became the president of its local community (Wong 6). Later, Vera Cruz played an important role in organization of the 1965 Delano grape strike, one of the biggest farm labor strikes in the US.
The strike gave rise to the United Farm Workers Union, Vera Cruz being its second vice president. The UFW’s work brought about significant improvement of farm workers’ labor conditions and Vera Cruz made a considerable contribution to this change (San Juan Jr., “Philip Vera Cruz”). However, due to ideological divergences with the UFW leader Cesar Chavez, Vera Cruz left the union, but still continued to fight for social justice until his death in 1994.Carlos Bulosan was born in the Pangasinan province in the Philippines. Economic hardships in his family and pursuit of the American dream became the reasons why Bulosan moved to the United States in 1930. There he took any job he could find in order to survive, and thus, went through a series of low-paid jobs ranging from fish canneries in Alaska to farms in California (Peck 2). Bulosan also got involved in labor movement and became an active member of cannery workers union. Despite such difficulties, he still did not give up on his dream of becoming a writer (San Juan Jr., “An Introdction”). That is why, while lying in the hospital …