Don Chun Wo (1873-1945) was a prominent figure in the Chinese community of Tucson and later Casa Grande in the early decades of the 20th century. He enjoyed high social standing among the Chinese due to his success in running grocery store business, as well as in maintaining a viable family life. The latter was no small feat given the fact that most of the Chinese who then lived in America were sojourning bachelors. He was also well respected by the local European-American society on account of the role he played as the “unofficial mayor of Tucson’s Chinatown.” Born and raised in San Francisco to immigrant parents, Don’s life path was different from those who came by boat.
Li is the recipient of the C.L. Sonnichson Award for best article in The Journal of Arizona History in 2011. She is an East Asian Studies specialist, historian and writer. Her writings include topics in Chinese history and Chinese-American History, and have appeared in The Journal of Arizona History and major magazines and newspapers in both Taiwan and mainland China. Li received her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from University of Arizona (2004) and taught at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. She also held a faculty position at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as a researcher and educator. In addition to conducting her own research, Li has translated two books.