Year
1964
Month Day
January 04

Patsy T. Mink sworn in as first Asian American woman and woman of color in Congress

Elected in 1964, Patsy T. Mink is sworn in on January 4, 1965, as the first Asian American woman and first woman of color to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Throughout her career, the U.S. representative for Hawaii was a strong supporter of civil and women's rights, as well as an advocate for children, labor unions and education. Serving as a member of the Committee for Education and Labor, Mink was vocal in her opposition to the Vietnam War and was a supporter of a national daycare system, Head Start and the Women's Educational Equity Act.

Mink, who co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus in 1994, was a key author and sponsor of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which outlawed sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal funding.

''It's rare as a legislator that you fight for legislation you believe in and stay around or live long enough to see it come to fruition,'' she told a group of top women basketball players in 1995.

The daughter of second-generation Japanese immigrants, she was the first Japanese American admitted to the Hawaii bar in 1953 and the first woman to serve in the Hawaii territorial House of Representatives in 1956. Mink served in Congress from 1965 to 1977, and following an unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, she was appointed assistant secretary of state for oceans and international, environmental and scientific affairs under the Jimmy Carter administration from 1977-1978.

After her time in the Carter administration, Mink continued to work in public service, including as a member of the Honolulu City Council and as founder of a watchdog organization that reported on Hawaii's state legislature. She was again elected to Congress in 1990, serving until her death at age 74 in 2002. Soon after her death, Title IX was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

READ MORE: Asian American Milestones: Timeline

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

President Nixon refuses to hand over tapes

President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over tape recordings and documents that had been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee. Marking the beginning of the end of his Presidency, Nixon would resign from office in disgrace eight months later. READ MORE: 7 Revealing Nixon ...read more

Nancy Pelosi becomes first female Speaker of the House

On January 4, 2007, John Boehner handed the speaker of the House gavel over to Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic Representative from California. With the passing of the gavel, she became the first woman to hold the Speaker of the House position, as well as the only woman to get that ...read more

The euro debuts

New Year's Day is the dawn of a new era in Europe, as 11 nations adopt a single currency, the euro. Now the official currency of 19 members of the European Union, as well as the nations of Kosovo and Montenegro, the euro's introduction had a profound effect on the global economy ...read more

Utah enters the Union

Six years after Wilford Woodruff, president of the Mormon church, issued his Manifesto reforming political, religious, and economic life in Utah, the territory is admitted into the Union as the 45th state. In 1823, Vermont-born Joseph Smith claimed that an angel named Moroni ...read more

Republican Party wins control of Congress for first time in 40 years

The 104th Congress becomes the first held entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era. Thanks to Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America,” the Republican Party won majority control of Congress for the first time in forty years. ...read more

During his State of the Union address on January 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson outlines his proposal for domestic legislation aimed at creating what he calls the "Great Society."

L.B.J. envisions a Great Society in his State of the Union address

On January 4, 1965, in his State of the Union address, President Lyndon Baines Johnson lays out for Congress a laundry list of legislation needed to achieve his plan for a Great Society. On the heels of John F. Kennedy’s tragic death, Americans had elected Johnson, his vice ...read more

Samuel Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government

Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers. Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of ...read more

Trains collide in Pakistan

Two trains collide in Sangi, Pakistan, on January 4, 1990, killing between 200 and 300 people and injuring an estimated 700 others. This was the worst rail accident to date in Pakistan. The train Zakaria Bahauddin (named after a holy man according to Pakistani tradition) had a ...read more

Boston Strangler strikes again

Mary Sullivan is raped and strangled to death in her Boston apartment. The killer left a card reading “Happy New Year” leaning against her foot. Sullivan would turn out to be the last woman killed by the notorious Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, who had terrorized the city ...read more

GM announces its electric car

On January 4, 1996, General Motors announces at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show it will build an electric car, dubbed the EV1, to be launched in the fall of that year. The EV1 wasn’t an entirely new concept, as electric vehicles had been around since the auto industry’s nascent ...read more

German military strategist Alfred von Schlieffen dies

German Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen, mastermind of an aggressive German military strategy that will soon be used, in modified form, at the start of the Great War, dies on this day in 1913 in Berlin. The son of a Prussian general, Schlieffen entered the army in 1854 and ...read more