Delano Grape Strike

Harvesting Grapes

After the War my dad returned to California to prepare to bring my mother over from the Philippines.Workmust have still been hard to comeby especiallyafter the war as all the soldiers were coming back startingnew lives. My dad went back to the only work he knew best, farmworking. 

Agriculture was booming in California and the agricultural industry was considered to be the new California Gold Rush.

The picture to the right is a friend of my dad and a fellow grape picker with his son. No name was given but you can see all the grapes on the ground and if look closely at his hand you can see the small sickle like blade that he is holding. That's a grapevine cutter.

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I'm not sure how involved my father was with the labor movement and grape strike in Delano. I knew that he did pickgrapes there but that was before the Grape strike led by Larry Itliong and Phillip Vera Cruz had begun. My dad attended many meetings with his LDT fraternity inStockton during the Delano Grape Strike and I'm sure the strike was a main topic of discussion. There were members in his fraternity involved with the grape strike and were friends with my dad from the California Filipino InfantryRegiments.

Legionarios Del Trabajo

Both my parents were members of the Legionarios Del Trabajo. My father was a member before he brought my mother to America. I often wondered what the purpose was of this group and after researching the events of those times during the Great Depression I realized how much an organization of this kind was needed.

First originating in the Philippines the fraternity was established in San Francisco California in 1924. More Filipinos were allowed to come to the U.S, to work in the agricultural industries. Politically, they were committed to improving relations between the U.S. and the Philippines especially at a time when there was a lot of animosity growing towards Filipino men.

Filipinos could congregate and give support to each other when needed. The feeling of brotherhood and unity was the bond that gave them the strength to cope with unfair labor conditions and descrimination. From these meetings they networked and discussed current events involving Filipinos and whether to decide to join the strikes or find other solutions.

The Legionarios provided benefits to its members such as health, hospitalization, mortuary, and legal assistance. In 1991 the Legionarios had numbered 1,200 members with 43 local lodges in California and Washington.
Duriing the turmoil in Delano my father was a LDT member and would attend meeting regularly. Even though our family had recently moved away from central California and settled in San Jose my dad still attended those meetings to stay current with the events that plagued the Filipino community.