Contextualizing Filipina/o Experiences through the Life and Lens of Virgil Duyungan
This paper serves a dual purpose: to examine the world of Filipina/o immigrants and Filipina/o Americans during the 1930s in the Puget Sound region, as well as look at the life and death of Filipina/o labor leader Virgil S. Duyungan. Incorporating these two different aspects into one paper reveals how Duyungan’s experiences contextualize and highlight key issues of the greater Filipina/o community in the region at the time, such as racial identity and tensions, labor rights, corruption and exploitation, and socio-economic conditions. By utilizing a body of primary and secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, government documents, images and union records, the paper navigates through a broad history of canneries and the workers of the industry, the Great Depression, Filipina/o history, and then the unionization efforts led by men like Duyungan. From there, the paper establishes a timeline of Duyungan’s experiences and how they correlate and contrast with Filipina/o experiences, to show how the story of historical individuals, though important on their own, are tied to the communities and greater experiences and events that coincide with them.