Charlie Soong has been called many things: a missionary, a businessman, a revolutionary, a pioneer of woman’s education, and North Carolina’s first international student. He was also the father of China's famous Soong sisters : Soong Mei-ling (a.k.a. Madame Chiang Kai-shek ), Soong Ai-ling , and Soong Qing-ling.
As a youth in the 1880s, Charlie spent several formative years living in North Carolina before moving back to China to become a successful business man and a close friend and revolutionary associate of Sun Yat-sen .
Born in 1861 to a fishing/merchant family on Hainan Island off the coast of southern China, Charlie arrived in America while a young man around 1878 in order to work in a relative's tea and silk shop during the formative years of Boston's Chinatown. Unhappy with his fate, he eventually found work on a ship docked in the Boston Harbor.
After returning to China in 1886, Charlie eventually quit missionary work for various reasons, and gradually transformed into a successful businessman through various business enterprises, including both the selling and printing of Bibles and the management of a flour mill.
In the 1890s, he established a friendship with a young Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Chinese Revolution that eventually brought down the last emperor of China and gave birth to modern republican government in China. Charlie secretly supported and financed Sun Yat-Sen and his revolutionary movement for two decades.