Little Manila

Little Manila

Little Manila Stockto, CA PhotoCred: TripAdvisor

Little Manila Background

By the 1920’s there had been large amounts of Philippine Immigrants coming into the United States. The creation of Little Manila began with an attraction for agricultural jobs in California’s Central Valley from young Filipino men which resulted into Stockton becoming a home for many of them. There had been tensions with asian immigrants (mainly Chinese and Japanese) inside the US already making it hard for the Filipino immigrants to make a living with other Americans. The racism and discrimination towards the Filipinos caused them to band together and create a community in which they could all find comfort within one another. Thus, the creation of Little Manila had come about and became an environment where Filipinos were able to feel more at home. By 1946, Stockton’s Little Manila became home to the Largest Filipino community in the US. In the 1950s and ’60s, large sections of Little Manila were bulldozed by the city to “improve” Stockton’s downtown area. A freeway and some fast food establishments displaced many Filipino homes and establishments and disrupted community life.

Churches and Religion

Upon immigrating to the United States, majority of the religious backgrounds of Filipinos had been Roman Catholic. Although they had shared the same religious background as White Americans had, the Filipinos were not welcomed to attend church alongside them. To compensate for this, Filipinos instead raised money to build their own churches in which they could praise in their own community.

Upon visiting the Filipino American National History Society, I came across a section which talked about one of the churches that had been erected during the time period when Filipinos had been ostracized from American Churches.

1945 Trinity Presbyterian Church PhotoCred: FANHS Museum
1943 Presbyterian Church PhotoCred: FANHS Museum
Organ dedicated to the church PhotoCred: FANHS Museum


The Lighthouse Filipino Mission church was founded in 1933 in downtown Stockton California as the Filipino Lighthouse Mission and later moved to Center Street as Stockton Full Gospel Center for about ten years. In 1947, it was relocated to 525 West Seventh Street as Bethany Temple, the church built it by the hands of its members. According to members of the FANHS, this church had been one of the first Filipino Churches in Stockton, but the congregation had split into two different churches due to religious disputes as to what to worship. Two protestant denomination churches emerged, Trinity Presbyterian Church and Bethany Christian Center.

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