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  1. Donaldina Cameron, 1866-1966
    Born in New Zealand to Scottish parents, Donaldina MacKenzie Cameron immigrated to California with her family at the age of 2. At age 19 when her engagement to marry ended, she began volunteering at the Presbyterian Mission House in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Founded by Margaret Culbertson, the Mission House had been created to fight “yellow slavery,” and provide a safe haven for young Chinese girls lured to American with a promise for husbands and an education, but instead were sold into prostitution or domestic slavery. When Culbertson died, Cameron took over the Mission. As Chinatown’s “Angry Angel,” Cameron personally rescued up to 3,000 girls, sometimes using an ax to break through doors, other times springing across rooftops. With child welfare laws nonexistent, Cameron rescued girls first and went to court to fight for their rights later. Given the ferocity of the slave-owning, organized crime network, the Tongs, Cameron’s life was constantly at risk. At Mission House, girls learned sewing and cooking, received an education and encouraged to pursue college. Recognized by one historian as “perhaps the most active and daring freedom fighter in the history of the West,” Cameron played a key role in destroying the yellow slave industry.

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