Title IX and beyond, Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink’s legacy lives on

Marylyn M. Feaver

On June 23, America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Many women of achievement today, not just athletes, are beneficiaries of this act which mandated equity for women in education.

My daughters, a physician and an attorney, might never have been accepted to medical and law schools had it not been for Title IX and other enabling regulation and legislation. The futures of my granddaughters as independent women are more secure because of Title IX.

The person largely credited for passage of this act was a third generation Japanese American Congresswoman from Hawaii. Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color to serve in Congress. After she died unexpectedly in 2002, a sitting Congresswoman, Title IX was named “The Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act”. In 2014 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rep.  Patsy Mink, D-Hawaii, meets reporters on Capitol Hill in this Nov.  5, 1997, file photo.

Congresswoman Mink was a high-school sophomore on the island of Maui when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Valedictorian of her class, she enrolled at the University of Hawaii. She transferred to a Pennsylvania college and then the U of Nebraska. Finding discrimination in both colleges, she chose to fight the segregated housing of colored American students at Nebraska which was practice was rescinded. She returned to Hawaii for medical reasons and graduated in zoology and chemistry from the University of Hawaii.

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