Hollywood trailblazer Anna May Wong to be first Asian American featured on U.S. currency
Anna May Wong, the first Asian American woman of color to win an Academy Award, has been made the first ever Hollywood trailblazer to be featured on the United States Treasury Department’s new series of notes.
The new series was issued under the auspices of President Obama and will feature seven women of color to become featured on new notes in circulation.
Wong, the first of those featured, will be issued a $10, with the notes paying tribute to her efforts to promote the plight of Chinese immigrants by working on the Broadway production Chinatown, which opened in 1966. Her performance in the play will be recognized with a $10 in the series of notes.
Wong’s role in the New York production was as one of the young Chinese women who are forced to cook for English-speaking men as their Chinese husbands are often away at war. She was able to learn to cook thanks to the kindness of the English-speaking man to whom she worked, who encouraged her to learn. She told the New York Times that she was deeply touched by the story.
“It was a privilege to be able to play one of those women. We were actually invited to do it and it was a wonderful experience,” Wong told The Huffington Post.
According to the Times, Wong earned the $10. However, Wong will actually receive a $50 per week pension from the Broadway production. “I didn’t know what to do with my money, so I gave it to the theater. Now I’m saving it,” she said.
“The notes are not only designed to honor the memory of Wong but to remind all Americans of the need to support the arts,” a White House press release about the new series said.
The series notes will run for a minimum of five years, according to the White House press release. All of the notes feature the likeness of the woman being featured, including