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Wellington Yee Chew - El Paso, Texas

Wellington graduated from El Paso High School and then went on to Texas A&M University. During World War II, he was drafted into the Army and fought as an infantryman at Normandy, in the Battle for Paris, and the Battle of the Bulge. According to his son David Wellington Chew, Wellington was naturalized under a special provision of the Nationality Act, which allowed military service to serve as a qualifier for citizenship. “Although it very well may have been a questionable interpretation because the
Chinese Exclusion Act was not repealed until another three months,” said David. “There’s a good chance he was one of the very first naturalized Chinese-Americans.” Upon returning home from the war, Wellington quickly decided not to pursue engineering school and instead chose to focus on becoming a lawyer. “I think the war changed his perspective of what he needed to do going forward,” said David. “Like many veterans, he never really talked about the war. But it was a life changing experience—both good and bad.” Under the GI Bill, Wellington received his degree from Southern Methodist University law school in Dallas and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951. He is currently thought to be the first Chinese-American licensed by the bar. Wellington returned to El Paso and worked as a solo practitioner in the areas of criminal and immigration law.

Uploaded on 11.09.2017 by El Paso Museum of History

Northeast / Franklin Mountains, (1950 - 1959), Meet El Pasoans

  • Wellington Yee Chew
  • Asian American

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