Skip to main content

Norman Mineta to speak on national security, civil rights

Former U.S. transportation secretary was the driving force behind the Civil Liberties Act of 1988

Norman Mineta
Norman Mineta has served under two presidents from different political parties.
  • Lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 on Evanston campus
  • Mineta served under two presidents from different parties
  • Driving force behind the Civil Liberties Act of 1988

EVANSTON - Norman Y. Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, will deliver the Admiral Weber Lecture at Northwestern University at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Mineta, who also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975-1995, representing California’s Silicon Valley area, will lecture on the topic “National Security and Civil Rights.”

Hosted by the University’s department of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the lecture will be held at 4 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive on the University’s Evanston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

During his career in Congress, Mineta served as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure between 1992 and 1994; chaired the committee’s aviation subcommittee between 1981 and 1988; and chaired its Surface Transportation Subcommittee from 1989 to 1991. He also co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as its first chair.

He was a key author of the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. He pressed for more funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Mineta was the driving force behind the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the injustices endured by Japanese Americans during World War II. In 1995, George Washington University awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Medal to Mineta for his contributions to the field of civil rights.

Mineta was appointed in 2000 by President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, making him the first Asian American to hold a post in the presidential cabinet. In 2001, Mineta was appointed U.S. Secretary of Transportation by President George W. Bush, a post he was originally offered eight years previously by Bill Clinton. He was the only Democrat to have served in Bush’s cabinet and the first Secretary of Transportation to have previously served in a cabinet position.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Mineta sent a letter to all U.S. airlines forbidding them from practicing racial profiling or subjecting Middle Eastern or Muslim passengers to a heightened degree of pre-flight scrutiny. Mineta became the first Asian American to hold the position, and only the fourth person to be a Cabinet member under two presidents from different political parties.

The Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose was named after him in November 2001 when Mineta was serving as Secretary of Transportation. The Mineta Transportation Institute, located at San Jose State University, and portions of California State Highway 85 are named after him.

The department of political science hosts an annual speaker series in honor of the late retired Admiral Alban ‘Stormy’ Weber. The gift by Admiral Weber brings to campus a speaker of note from public service, academia or the arts. The evening is a notable event on the department’s calendar of extracurricular activities, and draws a large audience of students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff and the general public. The speakers are consistently people of great accomplishment, experience and passion, and they come to campus with the objective of passing on their insight to students and others in political science.

This event also is supported by the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago.

Editor's Picks

Back to top