Emma Tom (left), Clara Lee (in hat)
Oakland Tribune November 8, 1911 1

Clara Elizabeth Chan Lee (October 21, 1886 – October 5, 1993) was the first Chinese American woman to register to vote in the US (along with Emma Hoo Tom). She registered in 1911 following the passing of California state Proposition 4, nine years before the passing of the 19th Amendment. They were eligible to vote because they had been born in the U.S. and thus were citizens.

Lee was the daughter of Rev. Chan Hon Fun, the pastor of the Chinese Community Methodist Church in Chinatown from 1900 to 1909.

She married Charles Goodall Lee, the first Chinese American licensed as a dentist in California.

The historic act is remembered in the Alice Street Mural Project.

Links and References

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  1. Oakland Tribune Archives
  2. American-Born Orientals Qualify Oakland Tribune November 8, 1911