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Sun, 02.17.1918

Charles Hayes, Unionist and Congressman

Charles Hayes

*On this date we mark the birth of Charles Arthur Hayes in 1918. He was an Black unionist, politician, and a member of the House of Representative from Illinois.

From Cairo, Alexander County, Ill., he graduated from Sumner High School, Cairo in 1935; Hayes was a trade unionist, 1938-1983, where he was a president from 1940 to 1942. In 1943, he served as vice president, United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Hayes was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-eighth Congress, by special election, August 23, 1983, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Harold Washington and was re-elected to the Ninety-ninth and to the three succeeding Congresses and serving for nearly ten years.

While a representative, Hayes was on the Committee on Education and Labor and Small Business Committee. He was most noted for pieces of legislation to encourage school dropouts to reenter and complete their education. He also consistently opposed the programs of the then white-minority government.

Charles Hayes was an unsuccessful candidate for re-nomination in 1992 to the One Hundred Third Congress.  He was a resident of Chicago, Ill., until his death on April 8, 1997.

Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990

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