Article and Essay

Jean Vengua: On Stewardship and Curation

Check out Jean Vengua’s “On Stewardship and Curation,” at

To be a Filipino American writer, whether or not one is aware of the historical and political implications, is to dip into a stream of writing and speeches produced by Filipinos from just before the beginning of the 20th century, through the 1920s and 1930s, up to and through World War II.

The authors include, for example, Sixto Lopez and Clemencia Lopez, whose passionate speeches moved the Anti-Imperialist League and New England Women’s Suffrage Association; editors and contributors to the Filipino Students Magazine, who railed against the exhibition of Filipinos at the St. Louis World’s Fair; and the publishers, editors, and writers for the myriad Filipino newspapers and magazines published on the West Coast in the 1930s, whose incisive and often angry editorial prose on labor and civil rights spurred strikes in the agricultural fields. There were many more writers than those I mention here, and their work in periodicals was published not only on the West Coast, but also in the Mid-west, in New York and Washington D.C., and likely any area to which Filipinos migrated, and stayed for any lengthy period.

Our literature has evolved from letters, editorials, essays, short stories, and poems published in periodicals, and even from testimonios, in the case of Filipinos whose personal experiences of vigilante attacks on the labor camp near Salinas were written and published in the Philippines Mail.

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