Filipinos have been an invisible minority in Annapolis for more than a century. Now, researchers at the University of Maryland are using oral histories as a way to flesh out their life and times – documenting the incredible challenges they faced – and successes they celebrated.
After the Spanish-American War, the Philippines became a U.S. territory. Filipinos were brought to Annapolis – home of the Naval Academy – to serve as desk interns, fire fighters, construction laborers, messmen and stewards. In many cases, the Naval Academy replaced African Americans with Filipinos leading to increased racial tensions.
For three years, University of Maryland Archeologist Mark Leone’s Archaeology in Annapolis Summer Field School has worked to uncover what has been described as a surprisingly complex relationship between the ethnic communities – that was at times marked by violence but also intermarriage and social inter mixing.
And while the archeological digs have produced some amazing discoveries, the Filipino community itself has come to feel that their story in Annapolis has not been told. As one former steward says, “No one ever asks Filipinos about their history or knows of it.”
But this past summer, the Maryland Archeology in Annapolis project took a giant step towards giving this underrepresented community a voice. UMD graduate student Kathrina Aben interviewed ten individuals – early pioneers, descendants, and new immigrants. By trying to understand Filipino – American history, archeologists hope to put history to paper for the first time and find new locations in Annapolis to explore.
January 22, 2013
"Invisible" Filipino History in Annapolis Documented by UMD Researchers
Did You Know
UMD's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, which simulates weightlessness, is one of only two such facilities in the U.S.