SF State News {University Communications}

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

New on the SF State bookshelf

April 11, 2008 -- Assistant Professor of History Dawn Mabalon brings together her academic research, community work and experience as a third generation Stockton native in "Filipinos in Stockton," a pictorial journey through the Filipino immigrant experience.

At a time when photography was becoming accessible to ordinary Americans in the early 1900s, Filipinos were flocking to Stockton, Calif., a city which for most of the 20th century was home to the largest Filipino population outside of the Philippines.

A photo of the jacket cover of "Filipinos in Stockton." Cover image shows Filipinos gathering for an afternoon of music and dancing in the 1930s.

With their Kodak Brownie cameras, immigrants captured their memories, both good and bad: proud smiling faces set against new homes and cars; daily life working in the asparagus fields and painful recollections of prejudice. Filipino immigrants were greeted with signs that read "Positively No Filipinos Allowed" and were segregated to a four-block area of Stockton which they called "Little Manila."

Mabalon and co-author Rico Reyes partnered with the Stockton Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society and the Little Manila Foundation to pay tribute to the enduring presence of Filipinos in Stockton. Part of the popular Images of America series, "Filipinos in Stockton" chronicles the role of the Filipino community in shaping the history, culture and economy of the San Joaquin Delta area.

Mabalon collected hundreds of photos from Stockton residents and involved a multigenerational community committee in the selection and captioning process.

"People brought in photos from the attic, the garage, and from the albums of relatives who had passed away," Mabalon said. "These photos are a powerful primary source, providing a record of the Filipino American experience. The book emphasizes that history is lived and produced by everyone, not just members of a certain race or class. The immigrant experience in Stockton is not just Filipino American history, it's American history."

Black and white photo showing four young Filipino children sitting on a doorstep. One of them wears a kid-size McIntosh suit.

A skilled tailor made Clemente Morales Jr.'s kid-size McIntosh suit to match his father's and uncle's. He is pictured with friends near Stockton. Because they were a rarity in the early, mostly male community, Filipino children were cherished, because for most early immigrants, the sex ratio imbalance made marriage difficult, and anti-miscegenation law in California barred Filipinos from marrying whites. (Photo and caption re-printed by permission of the publisher.)

The book's introduction and text are based on Mabalon's extensive historical research into the Filipino community in Stockton. In addition to her role as an historian at SF State, Mabalon is co-founder of the Little Manila Foundation which is working to preserve Stockton's Little Manila neighborhood.







-- Filipinos in Stockton, $19.99, Arcadia Publishing, 2008. Available at area bookstores, independent retailers or through Arcadia Publishing or at (888) 313-2665. All book proceeds benefit the Little Manila Foundation if books are purchased from the Little Manila Foundation Web site.

-- Dawn Mabalon will be signing her book at a launch event at San Francisco Public Library, May 3, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Latino Room B.

-- Elaine Bible


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