Patsy Mink

APSUH Hall of Fame / Lily Sinks

"We have to build things that we want to see accomplished, in life and in our country, based on our own personal experiences ... to make sure that others ... do not have to suffer the same discrimination."

-Patsy Mink

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Who was she?

Patsy Mink was an extraordinary woman. She was a women's rights activist and civil rights activist. She was the first colored woman to be elected to Congress. She enacted change in the lives of the minority. She was denied by many colleges based on her gender. She was the first woman lawyer of Hawaii. She overcame challenges based on her gender and race.

Early Life

Patsy Mink was born and raised in Paia, Maui, Hawaii on December 7, 1927. She was the daughter of two Japanese immigrants who had moved to Hawaii to work on sugar can plantations. Patsy played basketball, but only half court since, full court was too demanding of girls. She was the first female president of the student body of Maui High School. Patsy was also valedictorian of her class in 1944.

College life pt.1

Once she was out of high school, Patsy was set on going into the field of medicine. She first studied at the University of Hawaii for two years before moving to Pennsylvania where she went to Wilson College. She soon transferred over to the University of Nebraska. She first started her path to becoming a civil rights activist their, where she and other minorities fought the segregation raging at the school. However, she became sick and was forced to move back to Hawaii. After her recovery she began to study zoology and chemistry once again at the University of Hawaii where she achieved in getting her undergraduate degree in 1948. She had previously applied to 20 different medical schools, but was denied every time due to her gender.

College life Pt.2

Once graduated from the University of Hawaii, Patsy was hired as a clerical work at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts. Her employer soon gave her the idea of going into the field of law, which Patsy soon undertook. In 1948, Patsy was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School were she excelled in her studies. While studying there, she soon met her future husband, John Mink, a white man. They were married in 1951, the year in which she also graduated.

Early career

When Patsy graduated from Law School, she turned down by many law firms because of her gender, so she started working at the University of Chicago Law School library until she gave birth to her daughter Gwendolyn Mink. After, she and her family moved back to Honolulu where father gave her a loan to start her own practice, allowing her to become the first Japanese American female attorney in Hawaii. She also was a teacher at the University of Hawaii until 1956, the returned in 1959-1962, and 1979-1981.

"It is easy enough to vote right and be consistently with the majority . . . but it is more often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary."

-Patsy Mink

Political career / Death

Beginning around 1953, Patsy became involved in the Democratic Party, setting up the 'Oahu Young Democrats' and the 'Hawaii Young Democrats'. In 1954 Patsy ran for a seat in the Territory of Hawaii House of Representatives, but was defeated, however two years later when she ran again she was successful, becoming the first Asian American woman elected into the Hawaii House. In 1958 Patsy was elected to the Territory of Hawaii Senate. In 1964 she was victorious when she made it into the U.S. Congress. During the 12 years she was in the House of Representatives, she was elected to 5 consecutive terms. During which she was a main author of the Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment which prohibited gender discrimination in all federally funded education institutions. In 1972, Patsy declared herself a candidate for the presidency, however when she lost the Oregon primary she redrew her name and began campaigning again for her return to the House. She was then reelected in 1972 and 1974. In 1976, Patsy decided to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Although she lost she was then appointed the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs. After two years however she moved back with her family to Honolulu where she conducted her private practice and taught. in 1990, Patsy was once again elected to her old seat in the House up until 2002, running 7 consecutive terms. In 2002 though, Patsy contracted chicken pox, and in turn developed pneumonia. Her death was unexpected, on September 28, 2002, Patsy Mink died at the age of 74.

accomplihments of patsy mink

  • First Asian American and colored woman to be elected into Congress
  • First Asian American woman elected into the Hawaii House
  • Created the "Title IX" which was then renamed the "Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act" after her death in 2002
  • Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame
  • She was awarded a posthumous 'Presidential Medal of Freedom', the nation's highest civilian honor
  • Reelected 7 times into Congress
  • One of the first women to run for the presidency
  • A documentary, "Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority", is being made about her


"I've run many many times, and I've lost many times, but I have never given up. A feeling that as an individual, and you as an individual can make a difference."

-Patsy Mink

Why should she be in the apush hall of fame?

Patsy Mink is a remarkable woman. The reason she should be included in the Hall is because she changed the lives of many women and minorities. Patsy was dedicated to her causes and took a stand in a way that would make a difference. Patsy was a brave, honest, hardworking, dedicated, compassionate, go-getter woman, who fought for what she believed in. She did not sit idly and wait for someone else to fetch her dreams, she did it herself. She made a difference in the lives of Americans by putting herself out there, and no giving up when she hit the bumps in the road along the way. Patsy Mink changed my life as a woman, and the lives of all the other women in the U.S. whether they know it or not. Patsy Mink is an American hero.

"She had no patience for injustice, and she had no patience for intolerance."



Committee on House Administration by the Office of History and Preservations. "Patsy Takemoto Mink - Biographical Information". U.S. House of Representatives. 2006. Web. 22 May 2016.

Gootman, Elissa. "Patsy Mink, Veteran Hawaii Congresswomen, Dies at 74." The New York Times. The New York Times. 29Sept. 2002. Web. 22 May 2016.

Keene, Ann T. "Mink, Patsy." American National Biography Online: Mink, Patsy. American NAtional Biography Online. Oct. 2008. Web. 22 22 May 2016.

"MINK, Patsy Takemoto." MINK, Patsy Takemoto. United States House of Representatives - History, Art, & Archives, n.d. Web. 22 May 2016.

"Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority." Making Waves Films LLC. Making Waves Films. n.d. Web. 22 May 2016.

"Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation." Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation. Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation. 2014. Web. 22 May 2016.

Tietjen, Jill S. "Title IX She-roes." The Huffington Post., 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 22 May 2016.