CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH! 2002
Brought to you by the National Women's History Project and the WEEA Equity
Resource Center at EDC
Each week of Women's History Month we will highlight six women whose
achievements have paved the way to the 21st century. This week we will give
you a brief biography on U.S. Congresswoman Patsy Mink.
Women Sustaining the American Spirit
Patsy Mink has served in the House of Representatives for twelve terms. She
is the first woman of Asian descent to serve in the U.S. Congress. Her
ancestry is the classic story of immigrant seeking a better life in America
for themselves and their families. Her four grandparents emigrated from
Japan in the late 1800's to work as contract laborers in Maui's sugar
Pasty was born in Maui in December of 1928. From her earliest years, she
was encouraged to excel in academic courses. When she ran for student body
president during her junior year in high school, she began her unofficial
political career. World War II had begun and she was facing the
anti-Japanese-American sentiment that prevailed throughout the country. She
also had to overcome the obstacle of being the first girl to run for
office. To achieve this goal, she impressed a variety of students,
including gaining the support of the popular football team. She won a very
close election and learned the importance of coalition building. In 1944
she graduated as high school class valedictorian.
She began college at the University of Hawaii, but transferred to the
University of Nebraska where she faced a policy of segregated student
housing. Working with other students, their parents, and even university
trustees, this policy of discrimination was ended. She returned to the
University of Hawaii to prepare for medical school and graduate with degree
in zoology and chemistry. However, in 1948, none of the twenty medical
schools to which she applied would accept women.
She decided to study law and was accepted by the University of Chicago
because they considered her a "foreign student." Deciding not to inform the
University that Hawaii was a American territory, she obtained her Doctor of
Jurisprudence in 1951.
Newly married, she became the first Asian-American woman to practice law in
Hawaii. In 1956, she was elected to the Territorial House of
Representatives. It was the beginning of a long and effective political
life for Patsy Mink. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. In 1965, Patsy
Mink was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and began the first
of six consecutive terms in the House of Representatives. She as the first
woman of color to be elected to Congress.
Mink's ability to build coalitions for progressive legislation continued
during her tenure in Congress. She introduced the first comprehensive
Early Childhood Education Act and authored the Women's Educational Equity
In the early 1970's, she played a key role in the enactment of the Title IX
of the Higher Education Act Amendments. Written in 1972 to enacted by 1977,
Title IX, which prohibited gender discrimination by federal funded
institutions, has become the major tool for women's fuller participation
not only in sports, but in all aspects of education. In 1977, Patsy Mink
gave up her House seat to make an unsuccessful run for the US Senate, but
in 1990 she was re-elected to the House. Her hard work is obvious as she
serves on a variety of House Committees and Subcommittees. She has
accomplished much in sustaining the American Spirit.
Resources on Title IX
For more information about Patsy Mink On-Line
"Congresswoman Patsy Mink: A Profile in Strength and Perseverance." JADE
Magazine: June-July 1999. http://www.jademagazine.com/2me_mink.html This
article does exactly what the title says;profiles Patsy Mink and here
career in Congress.
Mink, Patsy T., "English Language Empowerment Act of 1996." Gifts of Speech
: March, 1996. http://gos.sbc.educ/m/mink1.html This is the text of the
speech give by Patsy T. Mink in Congress in 1996.
Staff, "Congresswoman Patsy Mink: A Profile in Strength and Perservance."
JADE Magazine. July 1999. http://www.jademagazine.com/2me_mink.html A short
biography of accomplishments of Congresswoman Patsy Mink. This biography
includes the focus of her career, education, childcare, the environment and
"U.S. Congresswoman Patsy T.Mink Second District:Hawaii." Website of Rep.
Patsy Mink. http://www.house.gov/mink This site gives political information
about the issues of Hawaii and biographical information about Rep. Patsy T.
For more information on National Women's History Month, contact: National
Women's History Project, 7738 Bell Rd., Windsor, CA 95492-8518, Telephone:
707-838-6000, E-mail: email@example.com . Pictures, biographical and reference
information are available on the National Women's History Project
For more information on links to other women's biographies visit the WEEA
Equity Resource Center at EDC, website:
http://www.edc.org/WomensEquity/women.htm Telephone: 617-618-2326, E-mail:
Resource to infuse equity is also provide by the WEEA Equity Resource
Center: Title IX and Education Policy
WEEA Equity Resource Center Staff:
Sundra Flansburg, Director
Amie Jagne, Administrative Assistant
Cynthia Newson, Program Coodinator
Kimberly Newson, Office Assistant
Jolene Pinder, Marketing/Research Assistant
Julia Potter, Managing Editor
Hilandia Neuta-Rendon, Senior Technical Assistance/EdEquity Moderator
Susan. J. Smith, Director of Communications
Terri Boyer Tillbrook, Technical Assistance Director
WEEA EQUITY RESOURCE CENTER at EDC
55 Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458-1060, USA
Tel: 1-800-225-3088 (TTY 800-354-6798) or 617-618-2326
The national Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA) Program is
a federal mandate to promote educational equity for girls and women.
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