describe it. This is a good description, as long as we recognize that the opposition is not so muchto other social groups as to stereotypes and social amnesia. Oppositional history, in short, ishistory opposed to forgetting; and another respondent, the Chinese American scholar John KuoWei Tchen, stressed that its goal is not conflict but rather reconciliation. There is a growingliterature on the subject of racial reconciliation: suffice it to say that all efforts at reconciliationmust begin with mutual recognition of the problem, and in historic preservation terms, thisrecognition can best be offered in the form of historic sites that tell the full story of Americanhistory, including the ugly episodes and the excluded groups. This is a great opportunity forhistoric preservation.Related to the concepts of oppositional history and reconciliation is another theme, eloquentlystated by Ralph Ellison as long ago as 1952. “I am an invisible man,” announced the black protagonist of his famous novel: “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to seeme.” Respondents to this study expressed frustration and anger that their communities remainlargely invisible. Filipino American author and film maker Angel Velasco Shaw knows thatFilipino migrant laborers once toiled in the fields of California, yet traveling around the state, shesees no trace of them. Shaw would like to see their presence acknowledged and interpreted.Nicolás Kanellos, director of the University of Houston’s Project for the Recovery of theHispanic Literary Heritage, points to the Merced Theater in Los Angeles. The Merced was animportant Spanish-language theater in the 1850s, yet guides to the historic theater fail to mentionthat “They erased that history,” says Kanellos. He would like to see it restored.The theme of invisibility shaped what many respondents hope to gain from historic preservation,and specifically from historic sites. “It’s important to have visible artifacts,” explained Filipino-American poet and journalist Luis Francia: they “remind people that at a certain time, and at thisplace, there were people who lived here, achieved something, and contributed to society.”Such visible artifacts would go far to close the diversity deficit. But which artifacts, and whatsites? Many preservation professionals feel out of their depth identifying or interpreting sites of Filipino or Mexican American history. They would appreciate some practical guidelines to helpwith these basic tasks, and in that spirit, I want now to offer a rough and preliminary typology of the kinds of sites that Francia and other respondents have in mind. This is an interpretivetypology, in the sense that it focuses on the sites’ stories, rather than their physicalcharacteristics. It is a preliminary proposal, which I hope others will develop further. The namesare mine, but the sites are those proposed by respondents.First,
points of origin
: places associated with a group’s entry into the United States or its earlyexperiences here. For Bradford Grant, chair of the architecture department at HamptonUniversity, Jamestown, Virginia is such a place: “As one of the first sites where Africans wereenslaved and brought to this country,” he points out, “the place is as significant for AfricanAmericans as for European Americans.”Second,
routes of migration
. Inspired by Boston’s Black Heritage Trail, Filipino Americaneducator Joan May Cordova imagines a guidebook tracing the paths that have led Filipinomigrants to hospitals and military bases, to asparagus fields in California, salmon canneries inAlaska, universities and architects’ offices in New York …and so forth.