Doyers Street Post Office Edges Closer to Honoring Chinese American Suffragette
The months-long effort to rename a bustling Chinatown post office to honor an iconic twentieth century suffragette is one step closer to reality.
Introduced in the fall by Congresswoman Nadia M. Velazquez (D-NY), the United States House of Representatives last week passed the bill to rename the 6 Doyers Street facility to Mabel Lee Memorial Post Office. The legislation is in the Senate now before heading to the President’s desk for signature.
“[Dr.] Mabel Lee’s life is the story of breaking down countless barriers at a time when women had few opportunities,” said Velázquez in a statement. “All New Yorkers and especially women in public service owe her a debt of gratitude. Renaming this post office in her honor is a fitting tribute to such an inspiring figure.”
Mabel Lee was born in Hong Kong in 1896, and spent her childhood in China, before emigrating to the U.S. on scholarship. She enrolled at Barnard College, and began championing women’s rights in student publications. At age 22 (circa 1917) she organized a group of women in her Chinatown community to March for their right to vote.
Lee eventually earned her PhD in political science and economics from Columbia University, being the first Chinese woman to do so.
The post office sits at 6 Doyers Street, just off the Bowery, which is a parcel that housed a distillery by namesake Hendrick Doyers in the 1800s.