Mickey Leland (November 27, 1944 - August 7, 1989), better known as Mickey Leland, was a spokesman for the hungry and poor, and later became a congressman from the Texas 18th District and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, Leland attended Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas and obtained a bachelor's and Doctorate of Pharmacy at Texas Southern University in Houston.
In 1972, Texas for the first time allowed its State House and Senate seats to be elected as single-member districts. Soon after the decision, five minority candidates (dubbed the "People's Five"), including eventual winners Leland, Craig Washington and Benny Reyes ran for district seats in the Texas House of Representatives, a first for a state which, although the legendary Barbara Jordan had been a state senator, had not seen any African-American state representatives since Reconstruction.
Leland regularly led soup kitchens and became concerned with the hungry and homeless. He also worked to prevent food aid from being a political tool.
Leland was controversial in his lifetime for espousing extreme leftist political views. Many of his colleagues considered him flamboyant for his style of dress and mannerisms, which included wearing a dashiki and eccentric hats.
In 1989 Leland died in a plane crash in Gambela, Ethiopia during a mission to Fugnido, Ethiopia. A total of fifteen people, including Leland, died in the crash.
A Federal building in Downtown Houston (which currently serves as the Congressional headquarters for his most recent successor, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee) was named in his honor, and the International Terminal (Terminal D) at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston is also named after him.