News

03/06/21 DAR honors Hazel Ying Lee in Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, Santa Clara Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) honors Hazel Ying Lee. Hazel Lee became one of the first Chinese American women to earn a pilot’s license (Oct. 1932). In 1933, she and several other Chinese expatriates went to China, hoping to join the Chinese Air Force, in response to the Japanese invasion of China. The Republic of China Air Force refused to accept female pilots. During bombings, she helped friends and neighbors find shelter. In 1943, she became the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military, as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). WASPs were considered civilians, with no military benefits and no military funeral. WASPs bought their own uniforms and paid their own room and board. They flew the least desirable missions. Lee delivered aircraft from the converted Detroit car factories to places where they would be shipped to Europe and the Pacific. During an emergency landing in Kansas, she was chased by a farmer with a pitchfork who thought she was an invading Japanese soldier. She was one of the first women to pilot fighter aircraft for the U.S. military. Known as a good cook, she took fellow WASPs to Chinese restaurants, supervised menus, and sometimes cooked the meals herself. Using bright red lipstick, she inscribed classmates’ nicknames in Chinese characters onto their planes. In November 1944, due to control tower error, her plane and another collided. She died from burns received in the accident. Three days later, her brother died in combat. The family was at first denied a burial site for the brother and sister in a Portland cemetery, because it was in a ‘white section.’ Lee was buried in a non-military funeral. She was the last WASP to die in service. In 2004, Hazel Ying Lee was inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor. In 2011, she was inducted into the Pioneer Hall of Fame.

Read about Hazel Ying Lee and Maggie Gee, the only two Chinese American women pilots in World War II, in the 5/21/20 NY Times article: Overlooked No More: When Hazel Ying Lee and Maggie Gee Soared the Skies.

02/11/21 USPS Ceremony for Chien-Shiung Wu Forever Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) held a First-Day-of-Issue Ceremony for the Chien-Shiung Wu Commemorative Forever® Stamp on February 11, 2021. This virtual ceremony was carried on the Postal Service’s social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) was a Chinese immigrant who became a nuclear physicist in an almost entirely male-dominated field in the 1950s. She worked with Oppenheimer and Fermi on the Manhattan Project, helping develop the method for separating nonfissionable uranium 238 from fissionable U-235—the bomb’s key fuel. Her experiment on the non-conservation of parity disproved a fundamental law of physics that had been considered incontrovertible for 30 years. The male theoretical physicists she worked with were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1957, but she did not get the award this time, nor for earlier work on Beta decay that was also considered Nobel-worthy. She was awarded the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her expertise in experimental physics evoked comparisons to Marie Curie. She’s one of only two individuals being honored with stamps this year, and in a year that the USPS is honoring Asian-American achievement. The art for her stamp was done by Asian-American painter Kam Mak.

To watch the ceremony: https://www.facebook.com/USPS/videos/1297548877293468/h

To purchase the commemorative stamp: https://store.usps.com/…/chien-shiung-wu…

To learn more about Chien-Shiung Wu:

01/10/21 SHF/OCAM Webinar: “Inside San Francisco’s Beloved Chinatown”

The Saratoga Historical Foundation (SHF) and the Organization of Chinese American Women (OCAM) co-sponsored “From Resilience to Celebration: An In-Depth, Pictorial Journey Inside San Francisco’s Beloved Chinatown” on January 10 at 2:00 pm on Zoom. The presentation was given by Dick Evans, a noted San Francisco photographer, and Kathy Chin Leong, an award-winning journalist. The presentation covered the history, culture, and traditions of San Francisco’s Chinatown and is based on their book, “San Francisco’s Chinatown.”

View the presentation below:

11/16/20 CHSA’s 2nd edition of “Voices from the Railroad”

Voices from the Railroad: Stories by descendants of Chinese railroad workers is a book published by the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) that reveals the stories of Chinese railroad workers and their descendants. These stories have never been told outside of their families until now. Learn about Chin Lin Sou, Hung Lai Woh, Jim King, Lim Lip Hong, Lee Ling & Lee Yik Gim, Lee Wong Sang, Lum Ah Chew, Mock Chuck, & Moy Jin Mun, workers of the Central Pacific Railroad. No longer nameless, faceless workers lost to history, their stories will shatter misconceptions about the Chinese who helped build America.

Co-edited by Sue Lee & Connie Young Yu, this book features first-hand narratives by railroad worker descendants: Gene O. Chan, Montgomery Hom, Carolyn Kuhn, Paulette Liang, Russell N. Low, Sandra K. Lee, Andrea Yee, Vicki Tong Young, and Connie Young Yu. Featured in the book are photographs and historic documents that link Chinese railroad workers to living descendants.

New in the 2020 edition is a section dedicated to the 150th Anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad held at Promontory Summit, Utah.

The book can be ordered from CHSA’s online store.
For wholesale or bulk orders, contact: info@chsa.org.

11/06/20 Remembering Santa Cruz County’s Chinatowns

The Chinatown Bridge Archway featuring a mosaic-covered dragon is now up in Downtown Santa Cruz. The archway is stationed at the Front Street entrance to the popular pedestrian and bike bridge that crosses the San Lorenzo River and leads into San Lorenzo Park. It was created to recognize and honor the final Chinatown in Santa Cruz that once thrived along the west side of the San Lorenzo River.

The dragon archway will also feature poems in Chinese characters in stainless steel plaques that will be powder-coated in red in addition to brass plaques that will read in Chinese script: Chinatown Santa Cruz. The lettering will be lit by solar-powered Chinese-style lanterns. Photos created in brass of the story of Chinatown will also be mounted on the archway.

A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony will be staged in the spring.

Before you visit, take a look back at the history of Santa Cruz County’s forgotten Chinatowns in a 3D scan of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s 2019 exhibition: Guided by Ghosts.

08/26/20 Centennial of Ratification of 19th Amendment

When Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining three-fourths of the states. Certification of the ratification occurred shortly after…on August 26, 1920.

In honor of the many brave women, who worked so hard …and so long… to make this a reality, we are sharing the video, “CA Women Inspire”.  The host is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California’s First Lady. It starts with indigenous women and goes all the way to recent times.


Asian American Suffragists

Mabel Lee (NY Tribune 1912)

Mabel Lee was a suffragist who mobilized the Chinese community in America to support the women’s right to vote, and in 1921, she became the first Chinese woman in the United States to earn a doctorate degree. On July 24, 2018, legislation was signed to designate Manhattan’s Chinatown Post Office in New York City as the “Mabel Lee Memorial Post Office.”

The following video showcases two important Asian American suffragists:  the aforementioned Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee and Tye Leung Schulze, American by birth, who was the first Chinese woman to vote in a Presidential primary.

08/14/20 Remembering Coby Yee

CHCP is saddened to advise that Coby Yee, a featured panelist in our “East meets West: Chinatown Nightclubs” webinar, died peacefully August 14, 2020, at the age of 93.

If you wish to see Coby full of life, love and laughter, view our Past Events blog entry for the webinar recording taken July 15.

07/21/20 Remembering Judge Michael Kwan

We of CHCP mourn the passing of Judge Michael Kwan with heartfelt remembrance. To CHCP and the Asian American community, he was the president of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and helped to create the movement to reclaim our history at the 150th  anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.  Click to view a tribute letter by CHCP Advisory Board Member Connie Young Yu.

Summer 2018 CHCP Progress newsletter

newsletterNOTE: To improve the timeliness of reporting of CHCP events, the CHCP Progress newsletter has been phased out and replaced by the Past Events blog on our CHCP website.

Past CHCP Progress newsletters will continue to be available for viewing, with the Summer 2018 edition being the last available issue of the newsletter.

Please visit the Past Events blog for the latest CHCP event news.

Spring 2018 CHCP Progress newsletter

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