According to a representative of the family, former Councilman Ernest McGowen Sr., one of the city’s first black elected officials has died.
McGowen served as the District B representative on Council from 1980 to 1993 and also served under three mayors.
McGowen was a noted voice for civil rights at City Hall in Houston and a strong advocate for the appointment of more minorities to high-ranking positions in the Houston Police Department.
McGowen also supported naming the then-Houston Intercontinental Airport for the late U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland.
Upon hearing of the death of McGowen, Houston Mayor Annise Parker prasied the tenacity and perservarance of McGowen’s service: “Ernest McGowen, Sr. was the first African-American district council member, elected to represent District B immediately after single-member districts were created in Houston,” Parker said. “He served his constituents with passion and commitment, but he also led on issues such as how the city responded to apartheid in South Africa and promoted disinvestment. He left a legacy through his family as well – his wife and sons have carried on the importance of service in the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”