Mickey Michaux

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Henry M. "Mickey" Michaux
HM Michaux NC.jpg
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 20th[1] district
Assumed office
Jan. 2020
Preceded byFloyd McKissick, Jr.
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 31st district
In office
1983–2019
Succeeded byZack Forde-Hawkins
In office
1973–1977
United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina
In office
1977–1980
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byBenjamin H. White, Jr.
Succeeded byKenneth W. McAllister
Personal details
Born
Henry McKinley Michaux

(1930-09-04) September 4, 1930 (age 89)
Durham, North Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)June
ResidenceDurham, North Carolina
Alma materNorth Carolina Central University
Professionattorney, real estate, insurance

Henry McKinley "Mickey" Michaux Jr. (born September 4, 1930) is an American civil rights activist and Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He represented the state's thirty-first House district from 1983 to 2019 and previously served from 1973 through 1977. The district included constituents in Durham County. Upon his retirement, Michaux was the longest-serving member of the North Carolina General Assembly.[2] In the 2007-2008 session, Michaux served as senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the House Select Committee on Street Gang Prevention.[3]

In 2020, at age 89, Michaux was appointed to fill a seat in the North Carolina Senate temporarily, following the resignation of Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr..[4]

Personal life[edit]

Representative Michaux and his wife June have two children, Jocelyn and Cicero. He and his wife currently reside in Durham, North Carolina.[5]

Education[edit]

In 1948, Michaux attended Alice Freeman Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina. He later went on to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, where he received both his Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1952 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) in 1964. Representative Michaux also did some graduate work in physiology and biochemistry at Rutgers University in New Jersey and in Business Administration and Economics at North Carolina Central University. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from North Carolina Central University as well.[6]

Career[edit]

An attorney and businessman, Michaux is a native of Durham, North Carolina and an alumnus of Durham's North Carolina Central University.[7] He served in the United States Army Medical Corps from 1952–1954 and in the Army Reserves from 1954 until 1960. In the 1950s, Michaux became involved with the civil rights movement, and established a close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr.[8] After serving as an assistant district attorney, he was elected to the North Carolina legislature in 1972, having gone into politics at King's suggestion. In 1977, Michaux became the first black United States Attorney in the South since Reconstruction when he was appointed to head the office in the Middle District of North Carolina.[9] Leaving that post at the end of the Carter administration, Michaux ran for Congress in 1982. He returned to the state legislature in 1983.

He is currently still a practicing attorney and is partner at Michaux and Michaux Practicing Attorneys which was established in 1970.[6] Michaux is the current Vice President of Union Insurance and Realty Company and has held this position since 1955.[6]

Runoff election threshold[edit]

Michaux polled the most votes in the first round of the 1982 Democratic primary for Congress, but because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, he was forced into a runoff with Tim Valentine. Valentine won the runoff, and Michaux returned to the state legislature. There, he pushed for the elimination of primary runoffs, and eventually the law was changed to lower the threshold to winning 40 percent to avoid a runoff. Had that law been in place and Michaux won the general election in 1982, he would have been the first African-American elected to Congress from North Carolina in the twentieth century.[10]

In 1992, Michaux lost the Democratic primary in the new 12th congressional district to Mel Watt.[11]

Awards and contributions[edit]

Representative Michaux was inducted into the Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011.[6] His contributions have also been recognized by North Carolina Central University, which renamed its School of Education in his honor in 2007. Michaux has served three terms as the National President of the NCCU Alumni Association as well as terms as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of the NCCU Foundation, Inc.[12]

Memberships[edit]

Michaux holds memberships in the National Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, and the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers.[6] While obtaining his undergraduate degree at North Carolina Central University, Michaux was a member of the Lampodas Club of Omega Psi Phi fraternity where he served as treasurer in 1949.[13] He is regarded as a notable member of the Beta Phi chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]