“Our sisters in China are free”: Visual representations of Chinese and Chinese American suffragists

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Abstract

Both white and Chinese American suffragists in the United States closely watched and discussed the events of the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the establishment of the Chinese Republic (1912-1949). They were aware of the republican revolutionaries' support for women's rights, which conflicted with American stereotypes of China as a backward nation, especially in its treatment of women. Chinese suffragists, real and imagined, became a major talking point in debates over women's voting rights in the United States as white suffragists and national newspapers championed their stories. This led to prominent visual depictions of Chinese suffragists in the press, but also their participation in public events such as suffrage parades. For a brief time, the transnational nature of suffrage conversations was highly visible as was the suffrage activism of women in U.S. Chinese communities. However, because Chinese immigrants were barred from citizenship by U.S. immigration law, white activists tended to depict Chinese suffragists as foreign, resulting in the erasure of their memory in the U.S. suffrage movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-641
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History

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