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Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Chinese advocate for women's suffrage in the United States

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee was a Chinese advocate for women's suffrage in the United States, a member of the Women's Political Equality League, the "de-facto minister of the Chinese Baptist Mission", and the head of the First Chinese Baptist Church in New York's Chinatown for more than 40 years. She was born in China and raised in New York for the majority of her life. She attended Barnard College and Columbia University and earned a PhD in Economics from Columbia University in 1921, becoming the first Chinese woman in the United States to earn a PhD in Economics. She was a leader of the American Baptist Home Mission Society and established the First Chinese Baptist Church and the Chinese Community Center in New York City's Chinatown which were dedicated to social services for the immigrant community. She became a well-known figure in the women's suffrage movement and rode horseback in the 1912 New York pro-suffrage parade. In 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment began to prohibit the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. However, as an immigrant, Lee was unable to vote because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, at least until the Magnuson Act in 1943.

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