Cultural Memory Project

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Behind every mainstream cultural representation, there are private stories and local memories that are silenced and forgotten. My cultural memory project is a puzzle that includes representations of mainstream historical narratives along with memories of individuals that are associated with the Manong Generation. The puzzle reflects the challenge and importance of putting pieces of information together to correct common beliefs and create a voice to silent narratives. The Manong Generation refers to Filipino immigrants who came to the United States during 1920s-30s. Their historical narratives only focus in their agricultural life style. However, memories of these manongs show that they were not simply farmers, but individuals who made great…show more content…
At the top left-hand corner is an image representing the dominant narratives commonly found when searching about the manongs. The manongs sing, play guitar, and attend dance halls (Lott 17). These dominant narratives create a representation that the manongs had a cheerful life in the US. Although true to some extent, their lives were not always cheerful as these narratives seem to suggest. Along with these happy narratives were memories of grueling hard work. White men expelled and forced them to take jobs with low wages (Lott 20). They, like other minorities, were also subject to racism and economic pressure. Therefore, this show that mainstream narratives are like puzzle pieces located at the corners as these are the pieces that people first look for to get an idea about the puzzle image. Yet, these narratives are “… always incomplete and problematic” as they do not include the private memories of individuals (Gonzales, 139). By solely using mainstream narratives to represent a story without putting the other pieces can lead to…show more content…
The picture at the bottom left corner represents the strike led by Cesar Chavez. Beside the image is a rewind symbol next to an organized meeting. This organized meeting represents the Delano Grape Strike, which launched the United Farm Workers Union (Lott 34). This strike was led by the manongs under Lary Itliong and Philip Bera Cruz to demand fair wages. The Delano Grape Strike, though not commonly known in history, shows that the manongs were active civic participants and play a key role in fair labor practice. Another forgotten story is the anti-Filipino sentiment. In the middle of the puzzle are images that serve as a reminder of the hate that the manongs endured in the United States (Tiongson 1). Beside these hate phrases are the symbol of solidarity. Narratives from the manongs and their family show that they addressed each other with titles, like “tata (elderly),” even though they were not relatives. This practice of giving titles to everyone as if they are part of the family is a tradition in the Philippines. Therefore, it suggests that the manongs brought their cultural memory in the US to find strength from each other. Overall, these forgotten stories show that despite being subject to discrimination, the manongs preserve and unite ensuring multi generation of Filipino

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