First Woman of Color Elected to Congress

Women of History are strong women who have marched before us. Patsy Takemoto Mink is one such woman. A political pioneer, Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress. She was an ardent advocate for marginalized groups. She fought for equity, education, environmental causes, and social justice.  Early Life Patsy Takemoto was born on Dec. 6, 1927, in Paia, Hawaii. As a young girl, she first noticed the inequality between people who owned Maui’s plantations and the workers. the haole or white people owned the plantations. The workers were Filipino and Japanese. Inequality and injustice came up close and personal after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her father was detained questioned simply because of his Japanese heritage. She’s been quoted as saying the experience made her realize “that one could not take citizenship and the promise of the U.S. Constitution for granted.” Education and her First First A junior at Maui High School, Mink became the first female class president. She graduated Valedictorian of the class of 1944. She started pre-med at the University of Hawaii. When WWII ended and travel bans to the U.S. Mainland were lifted, she transferred to Wilson College in Pennsylvania. But Wilson didn’t have […]

An Inspiring Woman In Space And On The Ground

From last week’s strong Mohawk woman of the revolutionary war era we’re coming forward hundreds of years. This week’s Women’s History Month spotlight is on an inspiring woman in space and on the ground, Ellen Ochoa. Ms. Ochoa, a Hispanic-American Woman, made history in our lifetime. Engineer, inventor, astronaut, and administrator, she is a champion of and for women. “We do a disservice to society as a whole, if we are not providing the same kinds of encouragement to women to contribute as we do to men.” – Ellen Ochoa Early Life Ochoa’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona. They later moved to California where Ochoa’s father, Joseph, was born. Ellen Ochoa was born May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. Her parents were Joseph and Rosanne (née Deardorf) Ochoa. She loved math and science in school, even if other kids looked down on her for that. She played the flute and wanted to be a musician. Like many of us, she watched the moon landing. She was eleven. It never occurred to her to want to be an astronaut. There were no female astronauts then. Education Ochoa’s parents divorced while she attended  Grossmont High School in El Cajon. She graduated […]

Spy, Loyalist, and Diplomat

Next on our list of extraordinary women of history is Molly Brant. Brant was an influential Mohawk woman in the American Revolution. A Loyalist, a spy, diplomat, and a clan matron, Brant straddled two worlds. But she kept her native heritage in her speech and dress throughout her entire life. Early Life Brant’s native name was Konwatsi’tsiaienni (also spelled Gonwatsijayenni) which means “someone lends her a flower.“ The daughter of a sachem (chief), she was probably born in Canajoharie, a barricaded long house village on the south bank of the Mohawk river, in about 1736. Her mother was Margaret Sahetagearat Onagsakearat. The man assumed to be her father was Peter Tehonwaghkwangeraghkwa. Both of them were Mohawks of the Wolf clan. The Mohawks The Mohawks were members of the Iroquois Confederacy (native name: Haudenosaunee Confederacy), a political union of six different Indian nations in the northeast. The Iroquois were a matrilineal society. They passed property and responsibility from mother to daughter. Iroquois women controlled land and wealth and had influence over policy issues. Learn more about the Mohawks. A Surname Peter died in the 1740s, leaving Margaret destitute. She had a brief second marriage to a War Chief who was killed in a raid. […]