Augustus F. Hawkins


Augustus F. Hawkins

Infobox Congressman
name = Augustus Freeman Hawkins
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width =
height =
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state3 = California
district3 = 21st
term_start3 = January 3, 1963
term_end3 = January 3, 1975
preceded3 = Edgar W. Hiestand
succeeded3 = James C. Corman
state4 = California
district4 = 29th
term_start4 = January 3, 1975
term_end4 = January 3, 1991
preceded4 = George E. Danielson
succeeded4 = Maxine Waters
birth_date = birth date|1907|8|31
birth_place = flagicon|USA Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|2007|11|10|1907|8|31
death_place = Bethesda, Maryland
party = Democratic
relations =
spouse = Elsie Hawkins (1977-2007) Pegga Adeline Smith
civil partner =
children =
residence =
occupation =
religion =


website =
footnotes =

Augustus Freeman "Gus" Hawkins (August 31 1907 – November 10 2007) was a prominent African 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 confused for a person of European ancestry.

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.

From 1963 until 1991, Hawkins represented California's 21st District (1963-1975), and the 29th District (1975-1991), 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. As chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, 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.

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.

External links

*CongBio|H000367
* [http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-hawkins13nov13,1,6539743.story?coll=la-breakingnews-headlines Obituary] from the "Los Angeles Times"
* [http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2007/11/hawkins_oldest_living_former_c.html Obituary] from the "Baltimore Sun"


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