Augustus Freeman “Gus” Hawkins   Leave a comment


 Augustus Freeman “Gus” Hawkins (August 31, 1907 – November 10, 2007) was a prominent American Democratic Party politician and a figure in the history of Civil Rights and organized labor. He served as the first African American from California in the United States Congress, where he sponsored the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act. Hawkins was very fair-skinned and was often taken to be a person of solely white ancestry.[1][2]

 

 

 Early life and career

 Hawkins was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He later moved to California, where he was a Democratic member of the State Assembly from 1935 until 1963. He was also a delegate to the National Conventions of 1940, 1944 and 1960 as well as an electoral college presidential elector from California in 1944. Hawkins attended high school in Los Angeles, and received his undergraduate degree from UCLA in 1931

  Congressional career

From 1961 until 1991, Hawkins represented California’s 21st District (1963–1975), and the 29th District (1975–1991), covering southern Los Angeles County, in Congress. Early in his congressional career, he authored legislation including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He later authored landmark legislation such as the Job Training Partnership Act and the School Improvement Act. He was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1977 he sponsored the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, alongside Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. The Bill gave the U.S. government the goal to provide full employment; it also ordered that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board must provide Congress with testimony on the state of the economy.

 

Over his career, Hawkins authored more than 300 state and federal laws. He also succeeded in restoring honorable discharges to the 170 black soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment who had been falsely accused of a public disturbance in Brownsville, Texas in 1906, and removed from the Army. He became chair of the House Education and Labor Committee in 1984.

  Later life and death

Hawkins retired in 1991 to his Los Angeles home, and lived in Washington, D.C. for the remainder of his life. Until his death at the age of 100, he was the oldest living person to have served in Congress. He was the eighth person to have served in Congress that reached the age of 100. Hawkins’ death left the former Alabama Republican Representative Arthur Glenn Andrews (1909–2008) as the oldest living former House member.

  Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park

The Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park was built in 2000 in a highly urbanized area of south LA.[3][4] The cost was $4.5 million and was financed largely by city, county, and state bond measures.[3]

The ZIP codes associated with that area are listed in United States Postal Service databases with the placename (city name) August F. Haw

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Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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