Oregon State University
Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection

Augustus Hawkins Oral History Interview, Part 2. July 1, 1992

Augustus Hawkins Oral History Interview, Part 2

Interview conducted by Michael Grice.

July 1, 1992

Location:  Location Unknown.

In this second recording of Augustus Hawkins, Hawkins talks about banding together with six or eight others at UCLA after recognizing a need for leadership in dealing with the problem of unequal opportunities in the job market. Civic jobs controlled by government officials were not available to black persons at the time. The city administration in Los Angeles was also corrupt. The group decided the best thing to do was choose one of them to run for office. Hawkins was chosen in the group by process of elimination. Hawkins discusses loyalty of black Americans to the Republican Party persisting into the mid-1930s, at which time many began to favor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. With the help of the UCLA group, Hawkins ran for California State Assembly and won by about 1500 votes. He describes the campaign and their focus on health, housing and jobs, outlining legislation he sponsored in the California legislature, such as the Fair Employment Act and opening civic jobs to minorities and women. He also fought for recognition and spots in the leadership in the labor movement.