by Judy Jean Kwon
Are you aware of the labor strike in 1924, Hawaii? Filipino and Japanese workers on sugar plantations? 20 men killed. They were asking pay increase from $0.77 to $1.25. I love history and discovering stories that are not told in mainstream American culture. When I was visiting Kilohana Plantation, I asked for any history on this old sugar plantation. I got these pages that described owners of the plantation (Wilcox), buildings, livestock, crops but it seems to have left out the most important part of its survival- laborers. Filipino and Japanese immigrants kept the place going. Asian-American history seems to always be overlooked. We are always absent in the conversations and silenced. History is history. History does not change but it can be ignored by design. To all the laborers that made America and continue to keep this country going. I honor you.
“Leaders of Filipino and Japanese sugar plantation strike first challenged the Hawaii Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) in 1920. Their demands — an increase in daily wages and a shorter workday — were modest requests, intended to provide workers with some measure of financial security and dignity. But plantation owners refused to acknowledge the petitions, a move that incited the Filipino Piecemeal Sugar Strike in 1924… From the moment they began arriving en masse to work on Hawaii’s 45 sugar plantations, Filipinos were subject to both grueling labor for negligible pay and intense discrimination. Over the course of ten-hour days, they carried 75-pound bundles of cane that left raw, infected patches on their necks. Living in “barracks” on the plantation, sometimes with five men sharing a room only 10 feet square, their meager wages of 77 cents per day went straight back to company stores for basic necessities, making saving money to return home to the Philippines impossible. To earn a return ticket from their employer as a “bonus,” laborers had to work 720 days over three consecutive…………(read on the link below) ……………………..
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