Letters in Exile: An Introductory Reader on the History of Pilipinos in America (1976)

Letter in Exile

Editor: Jesse Quinsaat

Associate Editor(s): Henry Empeno, Vince Nafarrete, Lourdes Pammit

Assistant Editor(s): Jaime Geaga, Casimiro Tolentino

Paperback: Out of Print

ISBN-10: 0934052050

ISBN-13: 9780934052054

Product Details: 158 pages, 8 x 9 in, with photos, bibliography

Categories: Asian American; Asian American Studies; Bibliography; History; Immigration and Migration; Labor, Business & Economy; Law and Politics; Narratives; Pilipino; Philippines; Race Relations; U.S.-Asia Relations; War and Peace issues


An introductory reader on the history of Pilipinos in America, Letters in Exile was the first anthology published on the then little-known history of Pilipinos in this country and was the second book published by the Center. Materials selected for this book were chosen by students belonging to the Pilipino American Anthology Project to shed light on key areas in Pilipino history.



"The articles which we have chosen by no means represent the definitive history of Pilipinos in America. They were selected because they portray significant themes in the Pilipino experience, in addition to providing factual information. Hopefully, they will inspire further research, and at the very least, serve as building blocks in constructing a framework to view the entire Pilipino experience in America.


Like the history of other racial minorities in the United States, the experience of Pilipinos has only recently been recognized and explored. Ever since they began migrating to the United States in the early 1900’s, Pilipinos have made substantial contributions to America's economic growth. In many respects, the pattern of their history is highly similar to the history of other Asian immigrants. Recruited as cheap labor, Pilipinos, as well as Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, became the focus of intense widespread racial antagonism which eventually led to the prohibition of continued immigration.


However, within that fabric of Pilipino history is woven one significant thread. From their initial immigration in 1907 to their eventual exclusion in 1935, Pilipinos came to the United States as migrants from an American colony, as opposed to a foreign country. This single fact, which in political terms accounted for the flow of migration, also had ramifications on a human level. Migrant Pilipinos nurtured in a system preaching American democracy and equal opportunity found to their bitter disappointment that these creeds were not upheld in the very country which fostered them.


We have organized this anthology to introduce the elements which resulted in this experience. In the first section, entitled "Conflict and Contact" are articles which illustrate that Pilipino immigration was rooted in conflict, with racism evident from its inception. In the following section, "Exile and Exclusion" are materials relating how discriminatory practices and policies of various groups eventually led to the social exile and legal exclusion of the Pilipino. Finally, in "Crisis and Construction" we have selected articles demonstrating the present plight of elderly Pilipinos who lived through this history and how concerned and active persons are helping them to meet their needs."

(From the "Preface")


Table of Contents


Letter in Exile Carlos Bulosan
Conflict and Contact

  • The First Vietnam – The Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, Luzviminda Francisco
  • Lure of America, Manuel Buaken
  • America Is In the Heart, Chapter 13, Carlos Bulosan
  • America Is In the Heart, Chapter 14, Carlos Bulosan

Exile and Exclusion

  • California’s Discrimination Against Filipinos 1927-1935, H. Brett Melendy
  • No Orientals Are Wanted, Manuel Buaken
  • Anti-Filipino Race Riots, Emory S. Bogardus
  • Anti-Miscegenation Laws and the Pilipino, the Staff
  • Filipino Immigration Viewed as Peril, C.M. Goethe
  • The Hawaii Sugar Planeters Association and Filipino exclusion, Sister Mary Dorita Clifford
  • Justice for Filipinos, Vince J. Bunuan
  • Filipinos at War, Bienvenido N. Santos
  • How to Join the Navy and Still Not See the World, Jesse G. Quinsaat

Crisis and Construction

  • The Day the Dancers Came, Bienvenido N. Santos
  • Health Care Problems of he Elderly, Jerry Weaver and Allen Constantino
  • Filipinos in a Farm Labor Camp, Lilian Galedo and Theresa Mar
  • Agbayani Village, Barbara Morita and Chris Braga

Pilipino Highlights
Bibliography, Henry Empeno and Casimiro Tolentino


Related Center Press Publications

Amerasia Journal 24:2 Essays into American Empire into the Philippines: Part I. Legacies, Heroes, and Identity (1998)
Amerasia Journal 24:3 Essays into American Empire into the Philippines: Part II. Culture, Community, and Capital (1998).
Baluyut, P., de la Cruz, E., & Reyes, R. (1998).
Confrontations, Crossings, and Convergence: Photographs of the Philippines and the United States (1898-1998).

Robles, Al (1996). Rappin’ With Ten Thousand Carabaos in the Dark: Poems by Al Robles