August 31

August 31, 1907 –  November 10, 2007  Augustus F. Hawkins

Augustus Freeman Hawkins

Augustus F. Hawkins, member of the United States House of Representatives.

One of the most effective legislators of his time, Augustus Freeman “Gus” Hawkins (Democrat) was born on August 31, 1907 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Hawkins was the first African American from California elected to congress and would serve for over half a century until his retirement in 1991. He authored or co-authored hundreds of bills in the California State Legislature and in the United States Congress. He will always be remembered as the author of Title VII (Equal Employment Section) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1978 which he authored with Senator Hubert Humphrey (Democrat-Minnesota).

CBCfoundingmembers

Founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Standing L-R: Parren Mitchell, Charles Rangel, Bill Clay, Ron Dellums, George W. Collins, Louis Stokes, Ralph Metcalfe, John Conyers, and Walter Fauntroy. Seated L-R: Robert N.C. Nix, Sr., Charles Diggs, Shirley Chisholm, and Augustus F. Hawkins.

Hawkins is credited as being a mentor to many African Americans in congress.  He was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Hawkins was able was able to make a positive difference in American politics and in the lives of millions of people through effective legislation for much of the Twentieth Century.  Augustus Hawkins died on November 10, 2007 in Bethesda, Maryland at age 100.