Mickey Leland, politian, activist, and visionary
Mickey Leland, politian, activist, and visionary November 27
*"Mickey" Leland was born this date in 1944. He was an African-American politician and activist.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, and George Thomas Mickey Leland grew up in Houston. In 1970 he received a B. S. degree in pharmacy from Texas Southern University in and was an instructor of clinical pharmacy at the same school. As a student he also was involved in the civil rights movement. Leland first ran for public office in 1972 when he won election as a representative to the Texas state legislature.
He also became involved with party politics as a member of the Democratic National Committee from 1976 to 1985. He served as a delegate to the Texas Constitutional Convention in 1974. After winning a plurality in the Democratic primary of 1978, Leland won the run off and in November. He succeeded Barbara Jordan as representative from the Eighteenth District of Texas. Throughout his terms in Congress Leland served on a number of committee's. The Interstate and Foreign Commerce (later Energy and Commerce) Committee, the Post Office and Civil Service Committee and was chairman of the Subcommittee on Postal Operations and Services. Leland served on the Committee on the District of Columbia in the Ninety-sixth through Ninety-ninth Congresses.
Mickey Leland was instrumental in establishing the Select committee on Hunger in 1984 and served as chairman through the remainder of his term. In addition to his regular cabinet responsibilities, Leland was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the Ninety-ninth Congress. He also successfully urged passage of stronger sanctions against the South African government. In the summer of 1989, Leland, as he often had before, traveled to Ethiopia to visit a United Nations refugee camp.
Sadly, on August 7 a plane carrying Leland, congressional staff members, State Department officials, and Ethiopian escorts crashed in a mountainous region near Gambela, Ethiopia, killing all on board. In his six terms as a representative from Texas, Mickey Leland emerged as a national spokesman for the problems of hunger in the United States and throughout the world.Art by Alfred Gockel: "Chanteuse"
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