The Delano Manongs tells the story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). While the movement is known for Cesar Chavez’s leadership and considered a Chicano movement, Filipinos played a pivotal role that began it all. Filipino labor organizer, Larry Itliong, a five foot five cigar-chomping union veteran, organized a group of 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California.
For eight days they struck alone, getting thrown out of their labor camp homes, and facing violence from growers’ hired thugs and the sheriff’s department. Yet Larry’s story and the story of the Filipinos and their union organizing efforts that began in the 1920s in the US have virtually been forgotten. Told from Larry Itliong’s perspective, the documentary follows Larry’s life arriving in the US at age 15 and immediately becoming involved with Filipino labor unions in the canneries and farm fields on the West Coast. The story of Larry and the Delano Filipinos is a history unknown to most Filipinos in the US.
Johnny Itliong speaking: