Florida’s First Black Federal Judge, Civil Rights Champion Dies

Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, 84, died today after losing his battle to Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Politico reported.

The longtime Democratic congressman was Florida’s first Black federal judge and made civil rights a priority. He was first elected to the House in 1992, the article added. Hastings’ death was confirmed by his chief of staff.

 

Photo courtesy of Twitter

 

Hastings ran for Congress and celebrated his win from the election in 1992 after beating then-state Rep. Lois Frankel in the Democratic primary. That election welcomed Hastings as Florida’s first Black congressman since after the Civil War. He served for 15 terms in the House and was the dean of the Florida House delegation as its longest-serving member, the article said.

He advocated for minorities, women, and immigrants during his time in Congress, and was the vice-chair of the House Rules Committee in the 117th Congress, the article said.

Hastings death brought out many to reflect on his legacy. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) said in the article Hastings’ “life and legacy will continue to be a part of our power and our message, and will serve as a motivation for those who will follow in his footsteps — as leaders, fighters and advocates who represent the best of what our nation has to offer.”

Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) sat beside Hastings for years in the committee and added thatg he’d lost a “friend,” Congress had “lost a giant,” and “those who all too often go unseen in America have lost a champion.”

Locally, the political legend’s life was remembered, too. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in accordance with a proclamation issued by President Biden, has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the state of Michigan to remain lowered to half-staff through Thursday, April 8 to honor and remember the passing of Congressman Alcee Hastings, according to a press release.

 

Our state is heartbroken about the passing of Congressman Alcee Hastings,” Whitmer said. “Congressman Hastings was a true champion of equality, and our entire nation is grateful for his work advancing civil rights. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

 

The State of Michigan remembers Congressman Alcee Hastings by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.

 

Flags should be returned to full-staff on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

 

Read the full story here.

 

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