Rep. Alcee Hastings (Florida)Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Alcee Hastings was born on Sept. 5, 1936, in Altamonte Springs, Fla., then a rural town of fewer than 600 people in central Florida. His parents, Julius Caesar and Mildred, often worked as servants for wealthy, white families in New York, leaving Alcee with his grandmother, Cassie Samuels Meritt.
- His entire family encouraged his education. His grandmother made him choose a word from the dictionary each day, learn its meaning, and correctly use it in a sentence. When he attended high school, he sat through a 30-mile bus ride to the all-black Crooms Academy.
- Hastings received a bachelor's degree in zoology and botany from Fisk University, intending to then head to medical school. Instead, on a lark, he briefly attended Howard University School of Law. Becoming fascinated with what he was learning, he decided to continue his studies. He eventually transferred to Florida A&M University, where he obtained a law degree.
- Hastings worked as a civil rights lawyer before becoming the first African-American federal judge in Florida (appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979). However, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, convicted by the Senate, and removed from office in 1989 on corruption charges. The conviction was reversed in 1992, when a judge ruled he had been improperly tried by a committee rather than the full Senate.
- Hastings sought public office a number of times unsuccessfully. He ran for governor, secretary of state, and the U.S. Senate, among other offices. When questioned about the futile campaigns, he responded: "I wanted to leave a legacy for my son. I wanted black children to know that this is their country and they have a right to run for any office they choose, even the presidency."
- Finally successful in a bid, Hastings was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992. On taking office, he noted: "I bring with me the added notoriety of being impeached … by the same body that I now get to serve in. That in and of itself is a made-for-TV-movie." He has been in Congress ever since.
- Hastings lists Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Harry Houdini among his personal heroes. Regarding Houdini, "I study him an awful lotnot for his magic. I like his ability to use his mind to accomplish his magic."
- Hastings has been divorced twice. He has three children: Chelsea, Alcee Jr., and Leigh.
- Project Vote Smart
- St. Petersburg Times
- Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
- Washington Post