Rizal first saw America on April 28, 1888. His arrival in this great country was marred by racial prejudice. He saw the discriminatory treatment of the Chinese and the Negros by the white Americans.
Saturday,April 28, 1888- The steamer Belgic docked at San Francisco. American health authorities did not let the passengers to land for one week because of the rumored cholera epidemic.
Rizal knew there was no cholera epidemic that time and he protest with other passengers the unjustifiable actions of American authorities. Hesoon discovered that it was motivated by politics and the ship was carrying 643 Chinese coolies.
May 4, 1888 – The day he was permitted to go ashore and registered at the Palace Hotel which was then considered a first- class hotel in the city. May 4 to 6, 1888 – Rizal stayed in San Francisco.
May 6, 1888 – it was Sunday, 4:30 P.M., Rizal left San Francisco for Oakland, nine miles across San Francisco Bay, by ferry boat. May 7, 1888 – it was morning, Rizal awoke and had a good breakfast at Reno, Nevada, now glamorized by American high-pressure propaganda as “The Biggest Little City in the World”.
From May 7 to May 13, Rizal wrote in his diary the beautiful memories from Nevada, Chicago until he reached Albany.
Oakland Sacramento RenoOmaha Denver Ogden Chicago Boston AlbanyCrossed Hudson River
May 13, 1888 – it was Sunday morning when Rizal reached New York. He stayed three days in this city, which he called the “big town”. May 16, 1888 – Rizal left New York for Liverpool on board the City of Rome. Rizal saw the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe Island.
The good impressions were:1) The material progress of the country as shown in the great cities, huge farms, flourishing industries, and busy factories;2) The drive and the energy of the American people;
3) The natural beauty of the land;4) The high standard of living;5) The opportunities for better life offered to poor immigrants.o The bad impression Rizal had of America was the lack of racial equality.
1890 – two years after Rizal’s visit to the United States, Jose Alejandro, who was then studying engineering in Belgium, roomed with him. Rizal’s impression of America “is the land par excellence of freedom but only for the whites”.