Krisaana & Olivia

Castilleja School | Palo Alto, CA | 8th

Inspirational Family Member
Mo Ching Chen

My great grandmother, Mo Ching Chen, was born in Canton. She grew up in a wealthy family. Her father often gave out soup to the poor every Friday, and soon poor people would line up with their bowls getting spoonfuls of leftover stew. That is the first time Mo Ching fell in love with serving the people of her country. As she grew up, her brothers started getting tutored, when it was her turn, unlike most families at that time, her father sent her to listen to the tutor as well.

In high school, Mo Ching Chen developed an interest in politics, often siding with the anti-communists when issues arose, and would fight against communism. She was soon elected to be a representative in Congress and would remain there for over 40 years, in addition to representing the state she was also elected as a representative of women in China. She fought for women’s rights and opportunities for women less fortunate than her. She quickly developed the nickname, Madam Chen, and women often went to her when their rights were abused. As a congresswoman, she used her office to aid women in the wrong and fought for equal rights.

After the Chinese Civil War, she and her family were exiled and fled to Hong Kong and Taiwan, however, she remained a Chinese government representative during the cold war between the communists and the anti-communists in the years that followed the end of the Chinese Civil War. Madam Chen died in Taiwan after years of unwavering loyalty to her country.

Historical Figure I Admire
Anna Howard Shaw

Anna Howard Shaw was born in England on February 14, 1847. At four years old, Anna’s family immigrated to Massachusetts. After eight years, her father sent her, her mother and her siblings to live in a log cabin, located in the wilderness of Michigan. Shaw faced many hardships during her teenage years, including the death of her sister and extreme poverty. During this time, Anna worked as a school teacher. After the Civil War, Shaw was inspired to become a preacher. However, her family frowned upon this career path and she was left to support herself.

In 1873, Anna enrolled in Albion College. Later, she graduated from the Boston University School of Theology with a medical degree. She was the only woman in her class of 40 men, as well as the second woman to graduate from the University. While at college, Anna advocated for women’s rights. Anna Howard Shaw was ordained as a Methodist Minister in 1880, becoming the first woman to preach in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, and London. In addition, Ms. Shaw was the first woman to deliver a sermon in the State Church of Sweden. Through her travels, and experience at medical school, Anna Howard Shaw became aware of the problems women faced. 

In 1886, Anna became involved in the suffrage movement by lecturing at the American Woman Suffrage Association. The next year, Anna worked with Susan B. Anthony to advocate for the League of the Nations covenant and the importance of suffrage in the Constitution. Susan. B. Anthony urged Anna to join the National Woman Suffrage Association. Shaw played an important part in combining the AWSA and the NWSA. From 1904 to 1915, Anna served as President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. During World War I, Ms. Shaw was the Chair of the Woman’s Committee of the National Council of Defense. Because of her hard work, she was then awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for her support on the committee. Anna Howard Shaw was also known as the “master orator” for social justice; she often organized and lectured throughout the world for temperance, woman’s suffrage, and peace.

What the Project Means to Me

Anna Howard Shaw is an inspirational woman leader, and without her, we would not be here today. A woman with such drive and passion is truly admirable and she should forever be remembered and looked up to. To have someone in my family who has worked hard in this long and never-ending fight for the rights and respect for women is truly an honor. Both must have gone through hard times and yet they still persevered. We hope our generation and all those to come will take inspiration from these amazing ladies and continue to pursue the work that they started and never back down from a challenge!

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