Trailblazing Activist, Lawyer, And Florida's First Black Federal Judge – BOTWC

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Trailblazing Activist, Lawyer, And Florida's First Black Federal Judge - Rep. Alcee Hasting - Has Joined The Ancestors At 84-Years-Old

Trailblazing Activist, Lawyer, And Florida's First Black Federal Judge - Rep. Alcee Hasting - Has Joined The Ancestors At 84-Years-Old

A life well lived!

The iconic civil rights lawyer and Florida's first Black federal judge, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, passed away Tuesday at 84-years-old, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Hasting, the longest-serving member of Florida's congressional delegation, had been battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer since 2018. He remained a champion against racial injustice throughout his life and persevered through challenges in his career as a civil rights attorney and a federal judge.

Congressman Hastings family released a statement on his passing, "He lived a life of triumph over adversity, and his brilliance and compassion was felt amongst his constituents, colleagues, the nation, and the world. He lived a full life with an indelible fighting spirit dedicated to equal justice. He believed that progress and change can only be achieved through recognizing and respecting the humanity of all mankind. He was never afraid to speak his mind and truly loved serving his constituents and his family. He will be dearly missed, but his legacy and fighting spirit will forever live on."

He was born Alcea Lamar Hastings, in Altamonte Springs on Sept. 5, 1936. His father, Julius Hastings, was a butler, and his mother, Mildred (Merritt) Hastings, was a maid. After his parents left Florida to find work to pay for his education, he stayed with his grandmother in Jim Crow-era Florida. Hasting spent his time picking beans and tangerines while attending Crooms Academy in Sanford, Fla., which was founded for Black students and is now known as Crooms Academy of Information Technology. Hasting graduated in 1953 and then attended Fisk University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1958. Following his graduation, he studied at Howard University School of Law before receiving his law degree from Florida A&M University in 1963.

The congressman was an activist who was jailed six times for participating in civil rights protests. Then, six months out of law school, he filed a lawsuit against the Holiday Inn in Fort Lauderdale after being denied a room. Soon after, the state integrated hotels across Broward County, where he eventually served as a state judge before receiving his federal judgeship.

In 1993, Hastings began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a member of the House Rules Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus.

The Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty said in a statement on behalf of the CBC, "While we mourn the loss of our brother, his 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."

She continued, "Although there are no words to ease the sadness we are now feeling, there is solace in the remembrance of having been touched by such a giant. May his memory serve as a comfort to his loved ones and those who join us in mourning his passing. Rest well our dear brother... we'll take it from here."

Along with being Florida's first Black federal judge, he was one of three Black Floridians who went to Congress in 1992. This was the first time Florida had elected Black candidates to that body since Reconstruction. He served 15 terms in the House, longer than any other current member, making him dean of the delegation. He pushed against racial injustice throughout his career and spoke up for LGBTQIA rights, immigrants, women, and the elderly while also advocating for better access to healthcare and higher wages.

Across the internet, people expressed their sadness at his passing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hastings is survived by his wife, Patricia Williams; three adult children from previous marriages, Alcee Hastings II, Chelsea Hastings, Leigh Hastings; and a stepdaughter, Maisha.

Rest in power, Rep. Hastings!

Photo Credit: Palm Beach Post/Sun-Sentinel