Tye Leung Schulze


Tye Leung Schulze


Tye Leung Schulze was the first Chinese-American woman to take the civil service exam and become a federal government employee. She was also the first Chinese-American woman known to vote. Not in 1920 -- in 1912. 🧵 

When Tye was born in 1887, the Chinese Exclusion Act was in full force. Chinese immigration was severely restricted, and those who managed to immigrate were barred from becoming citizens. Tye was a citizen at birth under the 14th Amendment. But a female citizen, with no vote.

California women came close to winning the vote in 1896. It was a statewide ballot referendum, meaning that all of the voting-eligible men in California got to decide whether women should vote. Most of them voted no. Fifteen years later, by a slim margin, California women won. 

California was the 6th state to enfranchise women, just in time for the 1912 presidential election. Tye said she studied all of the candidates carefully before casting her vote. See 👇 for the 4-way election of 1912. I wish we knew who she voted for! 

Tye worked as a translator at Angel Island, the notorious west coast immigration station. At least, until she married a white colleague and they both lost their jobs for violating California’s anti-miscegenation law. (Interracial marriage was illegal in California until 1948.) 

Tye Leung Schulze was a devout Christian - and a pinball wizard. (In her 30’s, when she was a mom of four!) She was a rescuer of women her entire life: as a young activist she helped women avoid forced marriage; as a grandmother in the 1940s she helped women get abortions. 

There are two recent versions of Tye’s story: the PBS series Unladylike features her in a 10-minute film, and this 👇 fantastic portrait, based on @ComixDawn’s original research.

#suffrage100 #19thAmendment


Daily Suffragist


Oct 16, 2020 (originally 07/02/2020)


Tye Leung thread take 2.png


Daily Suffragist, “Tye Leung Schulze,” Daily Suffragist, accessed September 27, 2022, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/233.

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