Oregon State University
Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection

Augustus Hawkins Oral History Interview, Part 1. July 1, 1992

Augustus Hawkins Oral History Interview, Part 1

Interview conducted by Michael Grice.

July 1, 1992

Location:  Location Unknown.

Congressman Augustus Hawkins was born on August 31st, 1907 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He served in Congress and the California State Assembly for 56 years; 28 years in each. Hawkins gives some background information on his family and recalls moving to Los Angeles as a young teenager and relates the issues he faced due to having a white complexion in a black setting during times of segregation. He recalls important people visiting and staying at the family home when he was a growing up, such as Booker T. Washington. Hawkins describes his mother’s influence on his values and how his father instilled in him that he would have to be successful in life by his own efforts. He also recalls religious family life on Sundays and the Depression’s effect on the family and on his choice to attend University of California, Los Angeles instead of University of California at Berkeley, and to earn a degree in economics instead of engineering.