“It goes back to my own experience in terms of the evacuation and the internment of those of Japanese ancestry. We didn’t have access to our political leaders at the time.”
California Representative Norman Mineta spent nearly four years of his childhood in internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. First elected in 1974, Mineta served 11 terms in the House of Representatives and worked to hold the legislative process accountable and address the mistakes of the past. Learn more about the efforts and accomplishments of Mineta and other Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress for Asian Pacific Heritage Month.
Patricia Fukuda Saiki’s revitalization of the Hawaiian Republican Party propelled her to election as the first GOP Representative in the state since it entered the Union in 1959. As a Member of Congress, Saiki focused on economic and environmental legislation important to her Honolulu constituency as well as the international Asian community.
Patsy T. Mink
The first woman of color elected to Congress, Patsy T. Mink of Hawaii participated in the passage of much of the 1960s Great Society legislation during the first phase of her congressional career. After a long hiatus, Mink returned to the House in the 1990s as an ardent defender of the social welfare state at a time when much of the legislation she had helped establish was being rolled back.
Resident Commissioner Manuel Quezon of the Philippines
On August 19, 1878, Resident Commissioner Manuel Quezon was born in Baler, Tayabas Province, Philippines. Educated in public schools, Quezon studied law at the University of Santo Tomas and served in the Philippine Army. After military service, he turned to politics. Elected as a Resident Commissioner to the 61st Congress (1909–1911), Quezon lobbied Congress for immediate independence for the Philippines and held this position throughout his service.
Representative Dalip Saund of California
On April 22, 1973, Representative Dalip Saund of California died in Hollywood, California. Born in Amritsar, India, Saund became the first Asian-American Representative to serve in the House of Representatives. After immigrating to the United States, Saund earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California. In 1949, he became a U.S. citizen. After meeting the seven-year constitutional requirement for citizenship, he ran for and won election to the 85th Congress (1957–1959) in 1956.
The Life of Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii
On September 28, 2002, Representative Patsy Mink, Democrat from Hawaii and the first Asian-American woman in Congress, died in the city of Honolulu. During her time in the House, Mink had the reputation for being fiercely independent, but her decision to work outside the party’s strictures back home freed her to pursue a legislative agenda that was often national as much as it was regional in scope. “You were not elected to Congress, in my interpretation of things, to represent your district, period. You are national legislators,” she once said.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Manuel Earnshaw trained as an engineer and built the largest shipyard in his homeland. This photograph shows Earnshaw at the time of his election in 1912 as a prosperous businessman ready to take on a statesman’s role. He served two terms as Resident Commissioner for the Philippines.
Hawaiian Delegate Victor S. K. Houston and his wife, Pinao Brickwood Houston, brought the Hawaiian holiday Lei Day to Washington, D.C., in 1929. They presented leis, which were handmade by Mrs. Houston, to Speaker Longworth, as well as the President, First Lady, Vice President, and Secretary of the Interior.
Norman Yoshio Mineta
The portrait of Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Norm Mineta tracks his life and career from an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II to the halls of Congress. Artists George and Jim Pollard used their signature blue-and-white background and layered it with a dream-like image of Mineta and his parents in Heart Mountain internment camp, and the Capitol appears at lower right.
Sentenced to Death
Successful candidates to the House of Representatives usually tout their devotion to their constituents. Few, however, prove their commitment to the people by being sentenced to death like Robert W. Wilcox, the first Delegate from the Territory of Hawaii and first Asian American in Congress.
The Origins of Prince Cupid
He belonged to the Royal Family, fought against usurpers of the throne, languished in prison, and went into exile from his native land before settling in Washington. There Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole lavishly entertained the capital elite, serving as the Delegate from Hawaii from 1903 until his death in 1922. Known as “Prince Cupid” for much of his life, the name captured his flamboyant lifestyle. The nickname’s origin, however, has become muddled with time.
This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. The series appears monthly. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.Follow @USHouseHistory