Alcee Hastings served as Florida’s first Black federal judge and fought a legendary battle for civil rights. In 1992, he became Florida’s first Black congressman since the Civil War ended and served 15 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
And after a courageous battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the Democratic congressman died Tuesday at the age of 84.
“I am deeply saddened by the untimely passing of my friend and colleague, Rep. Hastings of Florida,” Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green wrote in an email to the Black Press and posted to Twitter.
“My prayers are with the Hastings family as well as Alcee’s staff, friends and loved ones at this difficult time and in the days to come,” Green said. “You fought the good fight, dear brother.”
Hastings, who served as an advocate for minorities, women, and immigrants, was also the vice chair of the House Rules Committee in the 117th Congress.
Just one week ago, he voiced his support for President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
“The American Jobs Plan put forth by the Biden-Harris administration creates a robust avenue for progress and opportunity for all Americans,” Hastings said. “The plan will make a significant investment in broadband, while also investing in long-neglected areas of our infrastructure such as clean water to schools, housing and childcare, seniors, veterans and long-term care facilities. This plan will also create millions of good-paying, union jobs for the American people and provide support for our essential, caregiving employees.”
In an interview with the Black Press ahead of last November’s elections, Hastings lashed out at former President Donald Trump’s claims that he’d done more for African Americans than anyone else. He also took issue with Republicans for trying to suppress the vote for people of color.
“[Trump] said he’d done more for African Americans than anybody,” Hastings said, shaking his head. “I guess Sojourner Truth, Fanny Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others must be turning over in their graves because they gave their lives so that we can have the precious rights that we have. Now it comes about that our voting rights are under attack. Sensible Americans, those who are really patriotic, make sure that everyone has the right to vote.”