邱彰 CHIU CHANG / 劉經倫 JUWIN LIU
"The fate of a woman is like a mustard seed flying in the wind, it cannot escape destiny. The man she meets will shape her fate." -Old Taiwanese Proverb.
Polly Bemis was a mustard seed. Born into a poor peasant family in Guangdong, she was later sold by her father for two bags of much needed seeds.
In 1872, she was again sold as a child slave and smuggled into San Francisco, then to Oregon and finally to Warrens, Idaho. She somehow gained her freedom, married Charlie Bemis and became one of the foremost pioneers in the rugged central Idaho.
She spread the virtues of traditional Chinese women: love, gentleness, persistence and resilience and became a legacy of Chinese American in Central America.
During the 1900’s, quite a few girls from poor peasant families in China were sold and smuggled into the U.S. to become slaves. Their sad stories and their fight for dignity created the first Supreme Court case, Chy Lung v. Freeman 92 U.S. 275 (1875).
On the opposite spectrum, a rich Chinese girl named Mamie Tape wanted to enter public school but was denied. Her fight for the right to public education is why the first Chinese public school was established in San Francisco.
In 1945, as unfair treaties between the U.S. and China were repealed, thus reversing the Chinese exclusion laws, Chinese women were allowed to immigrate to America to be reunited with their families.
In the 1960’s, as the civil rights movement gained momentum, Chinese American women were empowered to make their mark on society.
Changing social mores combined with the Chinese traditional emphasis on children’s education gave birth to a new generation of Chinese American women, like the first Chinese American woman mayor Lily Lee Chen, the first Chinese American federal judge Dolly M. Gee and the first Chinese American Congresswoman Judy Chu. Chinese American women not only re-invented their roles as mothers & wives but also chased and fulfilled their dreams in America.
Against a pure white background, we respectfully juxtapose those aforementioned courageous Chinese American women by a 2B pencil, one by one onto a magnificent massive mural.
Polly Bemis 這顆油麻菜籽出生於廣東貧窮的農家，被父親以兩袋種子的代價賣掉。1872年她被輾轉賣到沃倫.愛達荷。她後來獲得自由，嫁給 Charles Bemis，成為荒涼崎嶇的愛達荷中部最早的墾荒者之一。她傳播了華人女性的傳統美德：慈愛、溫柔、堅毅、不屈，在美國中部成為華人傳奇。
1900年代，許多中國窮人家的女孩被偷運到美國為奴，她們悲慘的命運和她們爭取尊嚴的故事，寫下第一件美國華人最高法院的案例，Chy Lung v. Freeman 92 U.S. 275 (1875)，該案又被稱為「22位淫蕩的中國女性案」。富裕的華人女孩 Mamie Tape 希望進入公立小學也被拒之門外，她爭取教育權的戰鬥，就是後來舊金山成立第一間華人公立小學的主因。