Carlos Bulosan Exzibit
Carlos Bulosan was born in the Philippines in the rural farming village of Mangusmana, near the town of Binalonan (Pangasinan province, Luzon island). He was the son of a farmer and spent most of his upbringing in the countryside with his family. Like many families in the Philippines, Carlos’s family struggled to survive during times of economic hardship. Many families were impoverished and many more would suffer because of the conditions in the Philippines created by US colonization. Rural farming families like Carlos’ family experienced severe economic disparity due to the growing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the economic and political elite. Determined to help support his family and further his education, Carlos decided to come to America with the dream to fulfill these goals.
Traveling by ship, Carlos arrived in Seattle on July 22, 1930 at the age of seventeen. With only three years of education from the Philippines, Carlos spoke little English and had barely any money left. Desperate to survive, he soon began working various low-paying jobs: servicing in hotels, harvesting in the fields, and even embarking to the Alaskan canneries. During his hardships in finding employment, Carlos experienced much economic difficulty and racial brutality that significantly damaged his health and eventually changed his perception of America.
From several years of racist attacks, starvation, and sickness, Carlos underwent surgery for tuberculosis in Los Angeles. His health condition with tuberculosis forced him to undergo three operations where he lost most of the right side of his ribs and the function of one lung. Yet, he recovered and stayed in the hospital for about two years where he spent much of his time reading and writing.
The discrimination and unhealthy working conditions Carlos had experienced in many of his workplaces encouraged him to participate in union organizing with other Filipinos and various workers. Carlos become a self-educated and prolific writer determined to voice the struggles he had undergone as a Filipino coming to America and the struggles he had witnessed of other people. Like many of his fellow Filipinos in his time, Carlos never had the opportunity to return to the Philippines. After years of hardship and flight, he passed away in Seattle suffering from an advanced stage of bronchopneumonia. He is buried at Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.