First Asian American on US Currency


Olivia Giangerouso

Wong Liu Tsong, known in Hollywood as Anna May Wong, was a Chinese-American actress and the first Asian-American woman to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Born in Los Angeles in 1905, she got her start in acting and Hollywood through silent films. Throughout her career, Wong encountered deep-rooted racism in Hollywood, and tried to break away from stereotypes pushed onto her. She acted in movies in both the United States and Europe, with one of her most notable movies being Shanghai Express. Aside from her acting, Wong was well known for her style that included the combination of traditional Chinese clothing with 1920s flapper styles. 

Anna May Wong’s quarter is part of the American Women Quarter’s Program, spotlighting women trailblazers in their individual fields. She will be the fifth woman to have her face on an American quarter, following Maya Angelou (writer and social activist), Sally Ride (first American woman in space), Wilma Mankiller (first woman principal chief of Cherokee Nation) and Nina Otero-Warren (leader in suffrage movement in New Mexico). There are plans for the addition of 5 more women on quarters in 2023: Bessie Coleman (first African American and Native American pilot), Edith Kanaka’ole (indigenous Hawaiian composer), Eleanor Roosevelt (first lady and civil liberties advocate), Jovita Idar (Mexican-American journalist) and Maria Tallchief (America’s first major prime ballerina, the first Native American to hold this position).