#250posts24hrsAAPI - 176: Random Patsy Mink Bio (Because Why Not?)

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Mink, Patsy (1927-2002), U.S. congresswoman, was born Patsy Matsu Takemoto in Paia, Maui, Hawaii, the daughter of Suematsu Takemoto, a civil engineer, and Mitama Tateyama Takemoto. Both parents were the children of Japanese immigrants who had moved to Hawaii at the turn of the century to work on sugar cane plantations in Maui. An exceptionally bright and engaging child, Patsy did well in school and was popular with her peers, despite frequent encounters with racial prejudice: whites of European ancestry constituted an elite ruling class in Hawaii, at that time a U.S. territory. Moreover, prejudice against Hawaiians of Japanese descent intensified after the 7 December 1941 Japanese bombing of the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, a Hawaiian port city. Nevertheless, encouraged by her family, Patsy used her intelligence and interpersonal skills to advantage: she was elected the first female president of the student body at Maui High School, and she became the valedictorian of her graduating class in 1944.