Augustus F. Hawkins, South L.A. icon was 100

HawkinsGus Hawkins was elected to the California legislature in 1934 [editor's note: !] and almost three decades later he became the first African American from California to be elected to Congress. He was one of those old-time Democrats who held office for fifty-plus years, a champion of civil rights and labor and a hero to many South Los Angeles blacks. Born in Shreveport, La., his family came to Los Angeles just after World War I. He graduated from Jefferson High and UCLA, and won his seat in the state Assembly during the Depression by defeating a black Republican incumbent. He went to Congress in 1962 after winning a district that was especially carved out for him. When he died Saturday in Bethesda, Maryland, Hawkins was the oldest living former member of the House.

"Gus Hawkins was a champion for civil rights and the rights of hard-working men and women," [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi said in a statement. "A leader on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he was instrumental in ensuring that this groundbreaking legislation afforded equal employment to all workers."

L.A. Times obituary by Claudia Luther
The Swamp, Baltimore Sun

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Obituaries stories on LA Observed:
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
LA Observed Notes: Trump's new war, media notes and more
Dick Gregory
Gary Friedman, 62, longtime LA Times photojournalist
Kelly Wong, 29, Los Angeles firefighter
John Severson, 83, founder of Surfer magazine
Cecilia Alvear, 77, trail blazing NBC News producer
Rosie Hamlin, 71, writer and singer of 'Angel Baby'


LA Observed on Twitter