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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Filipino farm workers
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
This photograph shows a group of Filipino men working in a lettuce field in the late 1930s.
Physical Description
Date Made:
Pajaro Valley

Although a small number of Filipinos have been settled in this country since the 18th century, the vast majority of Filipino Americans migrated to the US and Hawaii (or to Hawaii and then the US) after the acquisition of the Phillipines in 1898, and the bloody war of conquest that followed. The vast majority of early Filipino migrants were men. There were a small group of Pensionados, who had their educations paid for and were meant to return to the colony to help run the colonial government. After this aid was cut off, people funded their own educations in the US. At the same time (1902-1934), a larger group of people migrated seeking economic opportunities. These men ended up, for the most part, working as migrant agricultural workers or as servants. In contrast to other Asians who were subjected to Exclusion Acts, in the years before 1934, Filipinos were able to come to the US without restriction, although they were not allowed to become naturalized citizens. After 1934, with the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, their quota was set at 50 per year, slowing down migration substantially.

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