Leaving a Legacy: Professor Dawn Mabalon, Filipino-American Champion, Historian

Monday, August 20, 2018
Photo of muralists posing next to mural honoring memory of Professor Dawn Mabalon

KQED-FM, THE CALIFORNIA REPORT (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Mabalon was a professor of History at San Francisco State University, co-founder of the Little Manila Foundation and a board member of the Filipino National Historical Society. She was also a daughter, wife, sister and auntie.

She died while vacationing in Hawaii, just shy of her 46th birthday — which would have been Friday.

Her 2013 book — Little Manila Is in the Heart — charted the growth of the Filipino community in her hometown of Stockton, beginning with farm workers who came to pick crops in the early 20th century. The book includes her own family’s story.

“Her book was no little feat,” said Dillon Delvo, who co-founded Stockton’s Little Manila Foundation with Mabalon. “Some academics thought it wasn’t academic enough to include her personal story, to write from a point of view. But if you represent a community that’s almost been destroyed, you don’t have that luxury.”

Photo: Artists Samantha Schilf (left) and Romi Rome painted a mural of late Professor Dawn Bohulano Mabalon at Victoria Manalo Draves Park in San Francisco on August 19. Photo courtesy of Samantha Schilf.