Hampton community activist Rudy Langford dies at 79

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton civil rights and community activist Rudy Langford passed away Monday at the age of 79.

His passing marked the end of a battle with stomach cancer, but the former president of the Coalition for Justice for Civil Rights fought many other battles in his lifetime. Friends and colleagues say love him or hate him he will be missed.

Langford co-founded the coalition in 1991, an organization which did its own investigation into several police-involved shootings, including that of a young armed mother police killed after a slow-speed chase in 2001.

Three times Langford argued before judges and called for accountability in Hampton’s botched cigarette sting.

For years, Langford was a thorn in the side of City Council members and police chiefs — never backing doing to authority, always challenging. On two occasions he ran against them for public office. Although, he lost both his bid for Mayor in 2008 and for state delegate in 1999.

A colleague, Rev. Marcellas Harris, said Langford served with professionalism and without pay. Harris told WAVY.com a lot of folks didn’t like Langford, dismissed him as loud, but now that he’s gone, Harris asks, “who will stand up for the little guy and stand up to the big ones?”

A small funeral service is planned for Rudy Langford at noon on Friday. An open wake is scheduled at Perkins funeral home on Queen Street on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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