Born in Portland, Oregon in 1907, Leah Hing became the first Chinese American woman pilot in 1934. In 1947, her pilot’s license expired and she was unable to join Portland’s Aero Club, a social club for private pilots and aviation enthusiasts, because she was Chinese. Instead, she worked as a “hat check girl,” switchboard operator, photographer, and receptionist for the club until she retired at age 70. She never became a member. Leah remained active in Portland’s Chinese community, coaching girls’ basketball, raising money for the elderly, and aiding in the citizenship process for immigrants.

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