Light & Verity


Courtesy the Ah Tye family

Courtesy the Ah Tye family

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“Even if we cannot undo history, we can acknowledge it and, in so doing, accord a full measure of recognition to Chang’s pathbreaking efforts to become the first lawyer of Chinese descent in the United States.”

—the California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision on March 16 granting a posthumous law license to Hong Yen Chang, Yale Class of 1883. The court had denied Chang a license in 1890, citing the federal Chinese Exclusion Act. Chang’s descendants and a group of law students at the University of California–Davis (led by law professor Gabriel “Jack” Chin ’95LLM) petitioned the court to rehear Chang’s case.

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