Modesto “Larry” Dulay Itliong was born on October 25, 1913 in the Philippines. At an early age, Larry knew he wanted to become a lawyer to fight for the rights of the common people. He migrated to the United States at 14 years old with aspirations to attend law school.
Itliong was unable to attend law school as he only finished 6th grade in the Phillipines, but he found work in several states working for canneries and farms. One thing that remained was his passion for defending the rights of the poor. He joined his first strike in 1930 and co-founded the Alaska Canneries Workers Union.
Soon, Itliong developed a reputation on the West Coast as an activist and labor organizer. He founded the Filipino Farm Labor Union in California in 1956, and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) in 1959.
One of his most notable involvements in activism was his role in the Delano Grape Strike in the 1960s. He worked with labor leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to fight for farm workers’ rights. The strike successfully led to better compensation for farm workers and led to the formation of the United Farm Workers. Itliong died in 1977.
Larry Itliong – History