In the mid-1930s, Anna May Wong was Hollywood’s preeminent Asian American starlet frustrated by a racist film industry. She connected with Bernardine Szold Fritz, a Jewish American writer and American salon hostess in Shanghai.
Today, 100 years after Anna May starred in her first leading role, The Toll of the Sea, stereotypes and casting white actors for Asian roles are still all too prevalent. Outside Hollywood, the U.S. is just beginning to recognize her groundbreaking achievements—Anna May Wong will be one of five American women to be featured on a U.S. quarter this year. It’s a start.