“I am delighted that this generous gift to the Portrait Gallery will be in our permanent collection,” said Martin Sullivan, director of the museum. “Secretary Mineta’s service to this country and his leadership efforts are central to the story about Asian Americans in the U.S.”
Born in 1931 to immigrant Japanese parents in San Jose, Calif., Mineta and his family were detained along with 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent at an internment camp during World War II. Mineta’s career in politics began with an appointment to a vacant seat on the San Jose City Council in 1967; two years later he won the seat in his own right. In 1971, he was elected mayor of San Jose, becoming the first Asian American mayor of a major U.S. city. As a member of Congress from 1975 through 1995, Mineta co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and engineered the passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988—an official government apology for the internment of those of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed Mineta secretary of commerce, making him the first Asian Pacific American to hold a Cabinet post. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him secretary of transportation, making him the only Democrat in Bush’s Cabinet and one of the few citizens ever to serve in the Cabinet of both a Democratic and Republican President. During the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Mineta issued the historic order to ground all civilian aircraft, the first time this had been done in U.S. history.
Mineta retired from his Cabinet post in 2006 and in that same year was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
“It is with great pride that we see Secretary Mineta’s remarkable story of leadership and service honored in the Portrait Gallery,” said Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. “He represents the key roles that Asian Pacific Americans have played in U.S. culture, history and politics.”
Mineta also served on the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents from 1979 through 1995 and supported the establishment of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American program in 1997. Currently, he is vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton, a leading global communications consultancy.
This commission was made possible through the support of benefactors George and Sakaye Aratani, Hill & Knowlton and Verizon Communications with additional support from many others. The portrait of Mineta is a part of the National Portrait Gallery’s ongoing efforts to commission portraits of living sitters for its permanent collection.
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program provides vision, leadership and support for Asian Pacific American activities at the Smithsonian while also serving as the Smithsonian’s liaison to Asian Pacific American communities. Asian Pacific American Program: (202) 633-2690; Asian Pacific American Program Website.
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story. National Portrait Gallery Website.
Click here for the full press release.
Other Articles by this author:
Crafting a Career
Lia Chang as Nurse Lia on One Life to Live
Making the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill a Reality
Asian Women Donors Grant $82,000 to NYC Artists and Non-profits Committed to Activism Thru The Arts
AALDEF and the 33rd Asian American International Film Festival co-sponsors screenings of 9500 Liberty and Lt Watada at the Quad Cinema on July 17
Photos by Lia Chang at the Shanghai World Expo 2010’s USA Pavilion, Library of Congress and Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection in L.A.
Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, has been extended through November 7, 2010
Photo Call: BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Port of Entry:The Angel island Immigration Station
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.
As a photographer and videographer, Lia is frequently tapped to collaborate with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.
Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, VIBE, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. In July, selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of THE LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2010 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at firstname.lastname@example.org.