History was made on Oct. 24, 2022 when for the first time the image of an Asian American appeared on United States currency. This distinct honor goes to Anna May Wong (黄柳霜), a groundbreaking actress in the 20th century during the rise of the film industry and a champion for Asian American representation in film. Born in 1905, Anna May Wong was the granddaughter of a Chinese immigrant. Growing up in Los Angeles, she found herself at the epicenter of a nascent Hollywood film industry, with productions setting up equipment in her neighborhood. Film roles followed, though opportunities were limited by the ethnic stereotyping common at the time. Despite those barriers, Wong had a storied career, becoming the first Asian American actor to get top billing in a Hollywood production (Toll of the Sea) in 1922 and even founding her own production company, Anna May Wong Productions. A year before she died at the age of 56 in 1961, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of her advocacy for greater representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood and cinematic achievements. To better understand Anna May Wong’s extraordinary life and career, the Renwen Society presents a lecture on January 14, 2023 by Dr. Yu Juan, a research on Anna May Wong. Dr. Yu will present Wong’s life in general, and her visit back to China in 1936 in particular. Dr. Yu will illustrate her talk with rare film footage of Anna May Wong in China.

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