Tye Leung Schulze


Tye Leung Schulze


In 1896, 45% of the men in California voted to give women the ballot. It took 15 more years before enough men were persuaded - 51.7% of them, precisely. In 1911 California became only the sixth state to enfranchise women. #StateoftheWeek But wait, there’s more...

At that time, the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in force, and would be for 32 years more. Chinese immigration was severely restricted, and those who managed to immigrate were barred from ever becoming citizens. But Chinese-American culture was thriving in California.

Chinese immigrants were 10% of California in the 1880s, when a girl named Tye Leung was born in San Francisco. The 14th Amendment guarantees birthright citizenship, so when California women began voting in 1912, she was among them - the first Chinese-American woman to vote.

Tye Leung was comfortable being the first. She was the first Chinese-American woman to take the civil service exam and become a federal government employee. Not just any employee: a translator at Angel Island, the west coast immigration detention camp that opened in 1910.

Read @ComixDawn’s absolutely fantastic portrait of Tye Leung Schulze, based on her original research. 

Tye was a devout Christian. A pinball wizard - in her 30’s, when she was a mom of 4! A rescuer of women - as a young activist helping women forced into marriage, and as a grandmother, helping women get abortions in the 1940s. Thank you to @hkergrrl for telling me about her.


Daily Suffragist






Daily Suffragist, “Tye Leung Schulze,” Daily Suffragist, accessed March 9, 2021, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/233.

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