Mickey Leland

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George Thomas Leland
Mickey Leland.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 18th district
In office
January 3, 1979 – August 7, 1989
Preceded by Barbara Jordan
Succeeded by Craig Washington
Personal details
Born (1944-11-27)November 27, 1944
Lubbock, Texas,
United States
Died August 7, 1989(1989-08-07) (aged 44)
Gambela, Ethiopia
Political party Democratic

George Thomas "Mickey" Leland (November 27, 1944 – August 7, 1989) was an anti-poverty activist who later became a congressman from the Texas 18th District and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was a Democrat.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, Leland attended Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas[1] and obtained a bachelor's from Texas Southern University in Houston.

In 1972, Texas for the first time allowed its State House of Representatives and Senate seats to be elected as single-member districts. Soon after the decision, five minority candidates (dubbed the "People's Five"), including eventual winners Leland, Craig Washington and Benny Reyes ran for district seats in the Texas House of Representatives, a first for a state that, although Barbara Jordan had been a state senator, had not seen any African-American state representatives since Reconstruction. Leland remained in the state legislature until he was elected to Congress in 1979. He remained in Congress until his death, being reelected to the United States House of Representatives every two years.

Mickey Leland International Terminal D at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport is named after Leland.

Leland was an effective advocate on hunger and public health issues. In 1984 Leland established the congressional select committee on Hunger and initiated a number of programs designed to assuage the famine crises that plagued Ethiopia and Sudan through much of the 1980s. Leland pioneered many afro-centric cultural norms in Washington which included wearing a dashiki and African style hats.[2]

In 1989 Leland died[3] in a plane crash in Gambela, Ethiopia during a mission to Fugnido, Ethiopia. A total of fifteen people, including Leland, died in the crash. His friend and former fellow Texas legislator, Craig Washington, ran for and was elected to his unexpired Congressional term in December 1989.

Since Mr. Leland's death, a number of buildings, initiatives, etc. have been renamed to honor Mr. Leland:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Distinguished HISD Alumni," Houston Independent School District
  2. ^ Leland, Mickey. Handbook of Texas Online. Last accessed November 10, 2006.
  3. ^ Hiltzik, Michael A. "Leland crash leaves no survivors." Los Angeles Times at the Boca Raton News. Monday August 14, 1989. 7th year, Issue 144. 1A. Google News 5 of 34.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Barbara Jordan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by
Craig Washington