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Mickey Leland dies in plane crash

August
07
1989

On this day in 1989, Congressman Mickey Leland's plane crashed in Ethiopia. Leland, a Lubbock native, had worked in Houston as a pharmacist. He pressured Houston officials to set up community clinics and became an active member of the black Community Action team. In 1972 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1979 he took the congressional seat vacated by Barbara Jordan. He served for more than ten years in the United States Congress, where he chaired the Congressional Black Caucus and served as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In 1984 he helped establish the Select Committee on Hunger. A trip to the Sudan in the spring of 1989 marked the beginning of tenacious efforts aimed at aiding Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. On his sixth trip to Africa his plane crashed on the way to the Fugnido refugee camp. Terminal D at Houston Intercontinental Airport was named in Leland's honor.

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