Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida has died after a years long battle with cancer according to his chief of staff Lale M. Morrison who confirmed the news with CNN on Tuesday. He was 84 years old.
News of Hastings’ death was first reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Hastings lived a life of controversy and redemption, appointed as the state’s first Black federal judge by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979. 10 years later Hastings was removed from the bench by the Senate after he was impeached on corruption charges, even though he was acquitted through a criminal trial.
Hastings appeared again in the political sphere in 1992, becoming Florida’s first Black congressman since after the Civil War. Hastings went on to be reelected 14 times.
In Congress however, he faced more accusations of misconduct when he was accused of sexual harassment and nepotism.
Hastings was one of Florida’s most senior, longest serving member in Congress, representing majority Black communities outside of Miami for almost three decades. As a lawmaker, Hastings was known for speaking what was on his mind. He was hailed as a progressive who pushed for affordable day care, universal heath care, family and medical leave, and advocated against the use of assault weapons.
In Congress he served as Vice Chairman of the House Rules Committee and was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Hastings scaled down his appearances after discovering he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in 2018.
He began his career as a civil rights lawyer in the south, defending Black people who were denied food service based on the color of their skin, and lead the charge to desegregate schools.
Hastings attended Fisk University, a historically Black college for undergrad and continued his education at “The Mecca,” Howard University. He eventually finished law school at another HBCU in his home state, Florida A&M, in 1963.
Due to Hastings’ death, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will determine when a special election will be held to fill his seat. The vacancy means House Democrats maintain a slim majority margin over the GOP, with 218-211.
“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,” CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty said in a statement sent to NewsOne.
“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.”
Other prominent Black lawmakers who served with Hastings shared their grief on social media. Sending our condolences to Hastings’ family and loved ones at this difficult time.
Rest In Power: Notable Black Folks Who We've Lost In 2021
1. Glen Ford, veteran journalist and Black Agenda Report founder, 71Source:LinkedIn 1 of 64
2. Gloria Richardson, civil rights pioneer, 99Source:Getty 2 of 64
3. Biz Markie, hip-hop legend, 57Source:Getty 3 of 64
4. Charlie Robinson, actor, 75Source:Getty 4 of 64
5. Matima "Swavy" Miller, social media star, 19Source:GoFundMe 5 of 64
6. Suzzanne Douglas, actress, 64Source:Getty 6 of 64
7. Abdalelah Haroun, track and field star, 24Source:Getty 7 of 64
8. Consuewella Dotson Africa, MOVE leader, 67
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Heartbroken to learn that Consuewella Africa passed away today. She was arrested on Aug 8, 1978 w/ the MOVE 9 + spent 16 yrs in prison. May 13th, 1985, her daughters Netta and Tree were murdered. 2 mos ago, we learned Penn Museum held hostage Tree's remains. And now she is gone pic.twitter.com/nZSW7Yu2yE— Krystal Strong (@misskstrong) June 16, 2021
9. Martha White, civil rights activist, 99Source:Twitter 9 of 64
10. Sanyika Shakur ("Monster" Kody Scott), street gang leader-turned-motivational speaker, 5710 of 64
11. Clarence Williams III, actor, 81Source:Getty 11 of 64
12. Samuel Wright, actor, 74Source:Getty 12 of 64
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16. Frank McRae, actor and former NFL player, 80Source:Getty 16 of 64
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18. Pervis Staples, singer, 85Source:Getty 18 of 64
19. Curtis Fuller, legendary jazz trombonist, 88Source:Getty 19 of 64
20. Henrietta Turnquest, pioneering Black woman politician, 73
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MARTA is saddened by the passing of Henrietta Turnquest, who was appointed to the MARTA Board in 2003, the first African American woman to be appointed and serve on the MARTA Board of Directors. https://t.co/nTGaNeRfIk pic.twitter.com/CFdMRiFT9h— MARTA (@MARTAservice) May 4, 2021
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22. Antron Pippen, 33
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24. Gerren Taylor, model, 30Source:WENN 24 of 64
25. DMX, rapper, actor, 50Source:Getty 25 of 64
26. Midwin Charles, attorney, 47Source:Getty 26 of 64
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30. Craig "muMs" Grant, poet-actorSource:Getty 30 of 64
31. Elgin Baylor, NBA legend, 86Source:Getty 31 of 64
32. Yaphet Kotto, actor, 8132 of 64
33. Reggie Warren, singer, 52Source:Getty 33 of 64
34. Jo Thompson, muscian-singer, 92
34 of 64
Jo Thompson broke racial barriers during the decades she played the piano and sang to audiences from Detroit’s top supper clubs to ones in Cuba, New York, London and Paris during the 1950s. https://t.co/9GGN8Njdx4— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) March 11, 2021
35. Paul H. Brock, journalist, 89
35 of 64
Today we are mourning the passing of @NABJ Founding Executive Director Paul H. Brock. “Founder Brock played such an integral role in the success of NABJ,” said @Dorothy4NABJ. Read more about Founder Brock and his legacy by clicking here: https://t.co/NFYmKLa9nc pic.twitter.com/BxluBXKPGy— NABJ Headquarters @ #NABJ21 Aug. 18-21 (@NABJ) March 14, 2021
36. "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, boxing legend, 66Source:Getty 36 of 64
37. Robert Ashby, military hero, 95Source:Getty 37 of 64
38. Obe Noir, rapper-activist, 31Source:Instagram 38 of 64
39. Marshall Latimore, journalist, 36Source:The Atlanta Voice 39 of 64
40. Lawrence Otis Graham, author, 59Source:Getty 40 of 64
41. Jahmil French, actor, 28Source:Getty 41 of 64
42. Bunny Wailer, reggae icon, 73Source:Getty 42 of 64
43. Irv Cross, legendary broadcaster, 81Source:Getty 43 of 64
44. Shelia Washington, founder, Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center, 61Source:William H. Hampton 44 of 64
45. Antoine Hodge, opera singer, 38Source:GoFundMe 45 of 64
46. Douglas Turner Ward, actor, Negro Ensemble Company co-founder, 90Source:WENN 46 of 64
47. Prince Markie Dee, rapper, 52Source:Getty 47 of 64
48. Vincent Jackson, former NFL star, 38Source:Getty 48 of 64
49. Danny Ray, MC who put cape on James Brown, 85Source:Getty 49 of 64
50. Frederick K.C. Price, evangelist, 89
50 of 64
"They know if we ever let these Black people get equality that they will take over they will be on top of everything" - Frederick K. C. Price pic.twitter.com/NYI11QgTEz— The Black Detour (@theblackdetour) February 12, 2021
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53. Karen Lewis, former Chicago Teachers Union president, 67Source:Getty 53 of 64
54. Leon Spinks, former heavyweight champion, 67Source:Getty 54 of 64
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56. John Chaney, college basketball coaching legend, 89Source:Getty 56 of 64
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60. Tim Lester, NFL star, 52Source:Getty 60 of 64
61. Bryan Monroe, former NABJ president, 55Source:Getty 61 of 64
62. Meredith C. Anding Jr., civil rights icon, 79
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We are saddened to hear of the passing of Meredith Anding Jr., one of the Tougaloo College students who attempted to integrate the Jackson Municipal Library in 1961. Thank you for taking a stand for Freedom! Our thoughts and prayers are with the Anding family. pic.twitter.com/HC1tURbUd2— Medgar&MyrlieEversInstitute (@MMEI63) January 12, 2021
63. Eric Jerome Dickey, best-selling author, 59Source:Getty 63 of 64
64. Floyd Little, football legend, 78Source:Getty 64 of 64
Longtime Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings Dies At 84 was originally published on newsone.com