- Five years after launching a search for Filipinos who may have passed through Ellis Island just off the tip of Manhattan, New York, from 1892 to 1954 on their way to carve a new life
in America, historians have drawn a blank.
“Because the Philippines was an American
Commonwealth, immigrants did not have to come through Ellis Island and the most likely possibility for interviews connected
with the history of the island is finding Filipinos who worked as crew members aboard the ships that brought other immigrants
here,” Dr. Janet Levine, oral historian of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, told The Manila Mail.
Levine launched the search for Filipinos
in 2004 and renewed her appeal recently with the help of the Philippine embassy in Washington
The embassy issued a news release on Aug.
24 urging Filipinos with first-hand experience on Ellis Island to step forward and be part
of the oral interview.
Many members of the Filipino community,
however, believe few if any candidates are likely to appear. Because of the timeline many are probably dead.
Of an estimated 16 million immigrants who
arrived in the US from 1892 to 1954, 12 million of them passed through
the federal immigration station in Ellis Island, then the major gateway to America.
Levine said the Ellis Island Oral History
Collection was looking for people who could talk about their memories and their lives.
“Currently we do not have any Filipinos
in the collection and we would like to have them represented. Since many Filipinos worked as crew members on ships bringing
immigrants to this country, their stories would be a welcome addition,” Levine said.
She commended amateur Filipino-American
historian Maria Elizabeth Del Valle Embry for her “incredible persistence in working on this.”
“It is common knowledge that in the
early 1900s, many Filipinos came to the Hawaiian and Alaskan territories, as well as to California,
Washington and Oregon to
work in the agricultural and fishing industries,” said Embry in an article published in the spring issue of Heritage
Matters, a National Parks Service newsletter of the US Interior Department.
“However, the entry of many Filipinos
through Ellis Island, our nation’s symbol of liberty and inclusion, remains largely
unknown,” she said.
She said she went through ships’
manifests provided by the Oral History Collection and was able to identify many Filipinos “processed” at Ellis
Island, including two future presidents of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon
and Sergio Osmena, students, businessmen and World War I servicemen who served in the US military.
In her website, Embry has listed other
Filipinos said to have been processed at Ellis Island and passed them on to Levine in April
Levine said interviews are voluntary.
“We do not have lists from which
we contact people. I know that crew members are listed on the ship’s manifests, but we only have the ships’ manifests
up until 1924 here. Maria did compile some lists of crew members, but we do not have the staff to track down people,”
she told *The* *STAR*.
In an open letter to President Arroyo last
July, Embry requested assistance in the hunt for Filipinos who may be willing to take part in the Ellis
Island oral interview.
Embry said among the Filipinos processed
at Ellis were Manuel Matute, stepfather of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, and Juan Sumulong, maternal grandfather of President
Daily Dose & Announcements: 09/04/09
September 4, 2009
Filipinos in Ellis
The Ellis Island Oral History Collection through Ms. Maria Elizabeth Del Valle Embry, author of the article
Filipinos in Ellis Island is searching
for Filipinos who came to Ellis Island in the 1900s. These Filipinos worked in the ships
that transported US military personnel and supplies to the war fronts during World War II.
The Ellis Island interview search will identify Filipinos who may be willing to tell their first-hand
experience on their passage through Ellis Island and be part of its history. Identification
with our nation’s history will promote good citizenship and civic involvement, a common goal for all.
For more information, please contact Ms. Janet Levine, Oral History Program, Statue of Liberty National
Monument, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org and tel no. 212/363 3206 and 212-363 3157.
July 27 - August 2, 2009 | Volume 23 No. 31
The Pinoy Behind the Racial Profiling
Nestor Palugod Enriquez
politics of racial profiling hit the nation again as the President jumped into the discussion with his remarks over the arrest
of Henry Louis Gates, the black scholar. He recalibrated his earlier statement and now believes that Sgt. James Crowley, and
Gates had overreacted during the incident. This has been a hot issue in every election, Al Gore debated Senator Bradley in
the democratic primary that might have torpedoed Bradley's presidential ambition. Al Gore ambushed the Senator from NJ by
reminding him: You know, racial profiling practically began in New Jersey, Senator Bradley."
This is true, "Racial profiling," the thing has
been around for as long as police work, and is practiced everywhere. "Racial profiling" the term did indeed have its origins
on the New Jersey Turnpike in the early 1990s. Trooper Vincent Bellaran, who is of Filipino, Puerto Rican, and Irish ancestry,
told the story in his federal discrimination suit. In 1998, he was suspended after he accused a supervisor of racism. Before
he was sent home, he was forced to strip to his underwear and surrender his uniform, badge and gun. He went on to testify
in Senate hearings about “Racial Profiling” as it became more of a national issue. A federal judge upheld Bellaran's
complaint that he was subjected to racism and harassment as a member of the state police. The state was ordered to pay. New Jersey has since reformed the stop and search procedure and made changes to the State Trooper Academy
Rather than overact, I will leave the subject
to racial profiling to the pundits and instead tell you about the Bellaran family of New
Jersey. We collected this information from the Filipino American National Historical Society (NJ)
and Maria Embry's research of Filipinos passing through Ellis Island started in 1892.
Vincent Bellaran III was born in New York. He a grandson of the early Filipinos in New
Jersey. Vincent Bellaran around 1900 was born to Carmen Bellaran in Manila. His name would be listed in the immigrant ship, The Finland where he made 25 trips
from 1921 to 1924 transporting immigrants to Ellis Island. The ocean liner could carry over
thousand passengers from Europe. He was listed as Ship's Oiler, 5ft 6 inch 140 lbs on the
Ellis Island immigrant's records. He was one of the founding fathers of the Knights of Rizal
of NJ in 1928. His three sons, Vincent Jr, Frank, and Raymond stayed in Union
The following generation of Bellarans still lives
around the Raritan Bay
area but according to Raymond Bellaran Jr, his grandfather passed away in 1966. The NJ Police Sargeant is the third Bellaran
carrying the Vincent name. They are active members of the community mainstream, but they still remember the beauty contests
and dance parties of their early childhood.
The origin of racial profiling in New Jersey will not be complete without the testimony of Vincent Bellaran.
22 - 28, 2009 | Volume 23 No. 26
Nestor Palugod Enriquez
WE found five individuals listed from the Ellis
Island Immigration records under the name Rizal. The first is Rizal's nephew, Alfredo Hidalgo RIZAL born 1882 Philippines arr via
S.S. Majestic 9/26/1907, a Harvard, student University" (Notes by Maria .E. Embry-birth name: Alfredo Rizal Hidalgo son of
Saturnina Mercado Rizal & Manuel Hidalgo; B.S Law School National University Wash D.C. Speaker Anti-Imperialist League
Missouri Exposition Speech 12/1907 about 1904 World's Fair. Dr. Jose Rizal wrote to his nephew on 12/20/1893,
“Go ahead then; study,
study, and meditate well what you study. Life is a very serious thing and only those with intelligence and heart go through
it worthily. To live is to be among men and to be among men is to struggle. But this struggle is not a brutal and material
struggle with men alone; it is a struggle with errors and preoccupations. It is an eternal struggle with a smile on the lips
and tears in the heart. On this battlefield man has no better weapons than his intelligence, no other force but his heart.
Sharpen, perfect, polish then/ than your mind and fortify and educate your heart.” This very steering fatherly advice
probably provoked Alfredo in using Rizal name instead of Hidalgo.
Now, let me tease your mind
on the two female immigrants listed as Rizal. The detailed record indicated that they were residence of Bohemia. I would go on the passenger manifest of the immigrant ship Stuttgart. It would reveal, Maria Rizal, 30 years old and 4 years old Marie as her child.
Leaving the port Bremen Germany arriving
at the Ellis Island on Dec 16, 1892 and then to New York.
I am anxious as we are anticipating the coming exhibit in Prague
and learning more about Rizal Bohemian venture on 1887. Is there a window?
The lunar calendar on the 4
year old Marie would be just speculation but maybe there was more than coincidence that Maximo Viola did not see or did not
tell us. Maria Rizal was his GF and got a child before leaving Bohemia
in 1887? The river valley of Bohemia would remain mystical to me , did 26 years old Jose secretly serenaded 25 years old Maria.
Jose Rizal would become the father of a whole nation.
During the years of Ellis Island immigration from 1892-1924, there were more than twenty million immigrants passing through
the Ellis Island center. Maria Embry and I are working on the history research in documenting the Filipinos who came by the
Ellis Island door. Most of the records came from ship logs and transcripts. Rizal left New York bound to Europe on board the city of Rome.
Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery.
Today is a gift,and that's why we call it
Nestor Palugod Enriquez
Coming to America