On Friday, April 29, 2022, the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, in partnership with the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, hosted a talk by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Gwendolyn Mink about their biography Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress. Fierce and Fearless is the first biography of Mink, who represented Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House from 1965 to 1977, and from 1990 to 2002.
The talk covered topics like the different feminist frames through which we can understand Minkʻs work, Wendy and Judyʻs approach to co-writing the book, and the long legislative journey that characterized Title IXʻs passage and implementation. Participants in the Q & A shared laughter and stories about Mink as a “force of nature.”
The talk marked the launch of the virtual exhibit Dignity, Equality, and Opportunity for All: Patsy Mink and Title IX. The exhibit, which will be viewable online through December 31, 2022, features materials from the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection (the Patsy Mink Memorabilia Collection, the Senator Hiram L. Fong Papers, the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, the Senator Spark M. Matsunaga Papers, and the Neil Abercrombie Papers), the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi Papers, the University Archives, and the Hawaiian Collection, as well as footage from the 2008 documentary Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority.
A particularly rewarding aspect of the exhibit research was learning more about Minkʻs time as a student at the University of Hawaiʻi. For instance, in 1948, she and the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi organized a model constitutional convention to introduce students to the process of drafting a state constitution. Our University Archives holds their draft constitution, which a 1948 Honolulu Advertiser editorial said may contain “sound new ideas for inclusion in the state constitution’s final draft.”
Mahalo to Wendy and Judy; to the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Department of American Studies, and Department of Ethnic Studies for hosting; to campus partners the William S. Richardson School of Law, UH Mānoa Women’s Center, Bridge to Hope, Student Parents at Mānoa, Student Equity Excellence Diversity (SEED), and the UH Mānoa Office of Title IX; and to Kimberlee Bassford of Making Waves Films for helping us to celebrate Patsy Mink this year!