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Who is Mabel Ping-Hua Lee?

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee immigrated with her family during the Chinese Exclusion Act, which made exceptions for missionaries like Lee’s father. The act limited Chinese immigration and citizenship. As an outspoken feminist, Lee began writing and speaking publicly about women’s suffrage while still a teenager. In 1912, she led a women’s suffrage parade on horseback in New York City. She later wrote “The Meaning of Woman Suffrage” in The Chinese Student Monthly and led Chinese American women in the New York suffrage parade in 1917. She is also the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from Columbia University earning a Doctorate in Economics. Lee continued to fight for women’s suffrage even though she, herself, would not be able to vote until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943.

“The idea of feminism is to give unto woman what man has successively gained in the different stages. It is the application to her the fourfold idea of democracy."


Source(s): Prologue, Tim Tseng

Photo of Mabel Ping-Hua Lee. Image via National Archives NYC.

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