Chinatown’s Angry Angel

donaldina-cameron-blogShe might look like just a nice, gray-haired grandma, but Donaldina Cameron (shown in picture, front row, third from the left) was known as “Chinatown’s Angry Angel” for a reason.

Working in San Francisco from 1895 until her retirement 47 years later, this missionary waged war against the slave traders who imported Chinese girls to the United States for servitude and prostitution. They say she saved over 3,000 Chinese girls—no wonder they called her Lo Mo, Chinese for Beloved Mother, while the slave-traders called her Fahn Quai, or White Devil.

Historian Dorothy Gray called her “perhaps the most active and daring freedom fighter in the history of the west.” In its day, Cameron House was a save haven for girls and women escaping their tormentors; today, the house still exists in San Francisco’s Chinatown as a center to help emigrants and families.

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