Oral History Interview with Laura and Jeanette Morgan

Title

Oral History Interview with Laura and Jeanette Morgan

Subject

Livermore - Calif., Women - Filipino American, Filipino American migrant agricultural laborers, Mixed Marriage, Race Discrimination - United States

Source

The Bulosan Center and the UC Davis Asian American Studies department holds intellectual control of the oral history interview, transcript and audio recordings. Usage is restricted for educational purposes only.

Date

15-Sep-18

Format

Audio Recording

Language

English, Tagalog

Identifier

ucdw_wa006_s002_0003_orh_2018

Finding Guide

9/15/2018 - The Morgan Family | 10:20 AM - 11:40 AM


Background of George Yanes (Gregorio)

  • Came to the United States for college, wanted to become an engineer
  • First arrived in Seattle, fell into indentured servitude under the Catholic Church as a houseboy, had to escape
  • Ended up following the migrant labor circuit
  • From Seattle, went to Alaska and worked in canneries
  • Ended up in Nebraska and worked on Laura’s grandmother’s sugar beet farm
    • George and Laura’s grandmother fell in love, ran away to New Mexico to get married due to anti-miscegenation laws
  • Settled down in California and worked on many farms throughout the state- Pleasanton, Livermore, Arizona, Bakersfield, Wasco
  • Ultimately moved to Livermore, worked for Jackson and Perkins (rose farm)
    • Worked in the fields, did budding and grafting
    • Also helped with research and creating new rose types
    • Had a fluid role at Jackson and Perkins, did many jobs
    • Did not participate in labor activism movement
  • Other Filipinos lived in Livermore, on the North Side of town (considered the “rough” side of town) or in labor camps
  • George Yanes and his wife, a German immigrant, had difficulty buying a house because George was Filipino- eventually bought a house in 1950
    • Prior to owning their own home, they lived in a group home for other Filipino laborers, many Filipinos living under one roof
    • Congregated with other Filipinos on the weekends at Camp Corrigador, ate pigs and goat, drank together
      • Many unmarried Filipino laborers lived there
    • The Yanes family would invite the other Filipinos to their home for the holidays
  • In the Philippines, George Yanes’ family were rice farmers that owned a lot of land

Jeanette Morgan’s Background

  • Grew up on the North Side of Livermore, “old money” Livermore on the South Side
  • Most of the FIlipino community lived on the North Side
  • The Morgans had to sell the family home in 2015
    • The neighborhood is now mostly Hispanic, less homeowners and more renters
    • Neighborhood has also become more gentrified as well
  • Not many Filipino students in Livermore when Jeanette was in school, but she did not feel excluded or discriminated against

Diversification of Livermore (Laura)

  • Hispanic population has grown
  • South Asian and Middle Eastern communitie have also grown
  • Not very many Filipino students in Laura’s classes these days, some are biracial
  • Met biracial Filipinos through the PTA

Jeanette Morgan’s Background Cont.

  • Worked in data processing after high school at IBM in Oakland
  • Married husband at 18, husband was in the Navy
  • Her brother worked in the rose fields with their father
  • Other brother graduated from Cal State Hayward in 1973
  • The Filipino community in Livermore mostly moved away after the labor camps were torn down, mostly moved to Sacramento and Stockton

George’s Life after Retiring

  • Retired from Jackson and Perkins in his 60s, returned to work at a local nursery owned by Japanese people
  • Started a rose garden at the nursery and trained the Hispanic workers
  • Worked there until he was 92

George’s Background Cont.

  • While working in Yakima, Washington, he had to hide under the Moxy Bridge because white people were “hunting Filipinos” and looking to “kill a chink”
  • Never returned to the Philippines after coming to America
  • Became a naturalized citizen in 1950, very proud
  • Spoke Visayan, Illocano, Spanish, English, and Tagalog
  • Voted in every election, very liberal, followed the news in America and the Philippines
  • Worked in Wasco and Shafter during the week, lived in Livermore on weekends
  • His wife learned how to cook Filipino food at the labor camps, the unmarried laborers taught her how to make traditional Filipino food, she served as “den mom” because there weren’t many married couples at the labor camps

Laura’s Experiences with Being Filipino

  • Not much of a Filipino community in Livermore during her generation
  • She won a scholarship for Filipino students, learned more about her heritage later on in life
  • Met more Filipinos when she transferred from UC Santa Barbara to UC Berkeley

George’s Experiences Later on in Life

  • Had a stroke in his 90s, his caregiver was Filipino
  • Caregiver, Alex, was intercepted by ICE while bringing his daughter to her kindergarten class
  • Caregiver was very close to George, they could speak the same language together
  • The Morgans still have ties to the Filipino community through caregivers

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Date Added
November 20, 2018
Collection
Filipino American Experiences Oral History Project
Item Type
Oral History
Tags
, , , ,
Citation
“Oral History Interview with Laura and Jeanette Morgan,” Welga Archive - Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, accessed December 13, 2018, https://welgadigitalarchive.omeka.net/items/show/472.