On September 27, 1912 the Oregon Journal had published an article documenting a speech given by Dr. He began his speech with an abrasive tone stating that, “The stupidity of the circumstance which gives votes to men of whatever class, and denies the right of franchise to women, has grown so intolerable.” Aked then stated, “You Americans, except in six states of the union…
Newspaper accounts suggest that, for a time during the 1912 campaign, white Oregon suffragists saw Chinese women as sisters in the battle for equal suffrage and gave them their complete support.
However, despite this camaraderie, the actual Chinese woman suffrage story has been altered within the Chinese historical record and also in Oregon history.
the feast was attended by 150 equal suffrage workers,” which was unheard of at the time.
Therefore, suffrage became a goal that was shared by women across racial and national boundaries. Chan, who was not only a physician, but also the president of a local equal suffrage society for Chinese women in Oregon.
Oregon woman suffragists were optimistic about the Chinese woman suffrage movement, but that did not mean that they received or reported an accurate representation of the Chinese suffrage story.
In Oregon, supporters of woman suffrage approached the Chinese movement two ways; one was characterized by racism, and the other by a vision of equality. Aked titled, “Scores Men for Denying Women Right of Ballot.” The Reverend Aked, visiting from Great Britain, used this opportunity to express his discontent with the United States’ current treatment of women.The campaign committee of the Portland Woman’s Club also sent a message after hearing the news to Moy Back Hin, the Chinese consul in Oregon, which stated, “Through you we send greetings and congratulations to the great republic of China, that, in establishing the most modern form of government, it has made the republic a government of all the people, and not a government of half the people, as we have on Oregon.” Therefore, by comparing Oregon’s democracy, with China’s newfound democracy, they perceived China’s struggles and gains as their very own.Anti-suffragists printed a rebuttal addressed to the editor of the Oregonian titled, “Chinese Women are not Voters,” on July 4, 1912.No longer was the movement about achieving the vote for only white women, it had transformed into a movement for all women. As a student in the Honors Program at Western Oregon University, Diedra Cates participated in Professor Kimberly Jensen’s Winter 2011 Oregon Woman Suffrage course.Without the diversity and cooperation among suffrage groups, the 1912 campaign would not have been as successful. Diedra is also an Anthropology major with interests in gender and cultural studies, transnational adoption, and self-identity formation.The Oregon suffragists who were working on the 1912 campaign saw the democratic movement as progressive and inspiring.