Rose wu, born in tuscon, was 28 when she testified in Austin, texas to defeat a proposed state law forbidding chinese americans from owning property in the united states. the law was an attempt by white merchants to stifle competition from chinese who were opening up stores after the railroads were completed.
“i am an american citizen. my grandfather helped to build the Southern pacific railroad through texas. twelve hundred chinese helped to build the railroad and now there are only 700 chinese in texas. i know i have the rights but i do not forget my blood. everyone can tell i am chinese by my color. if you pass this law, i will have to go through much embarrassment to rent a piece of property. all do not know that i am a citizen.”
The law was defeated and rose wu, with her husband, owned stores and a restaurant in san antonio, had four children and became a civic leader in her community.