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The Honorable Cardiss Collins

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Information about The Honorable Cardiss Collins

Profile image of The Honorable Cardiss Collins

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congresswoman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Turnip)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Florida
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/24/1931
Birth Location:
St. Louis, Missouri

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congresswoman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Turnip)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Florida
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/24/1931
Birth Location:
St. Louis
See how The Honorable Cardiss Collins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Former U.S. Congresswoman of Illinois's 7th district Cardiss Collins was born on September 24, 1931, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Finley and Rosia Mae Cardiss Robertson. When she was ten years old, she moved with her family to Detroit, Michigan, where she attended the Detroit High School of Commerce. After high school, Collins moved to Chicago, Illinois to find a job. She worked as a stenographer with the Illinois Department of Labor while simultaneously attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she earned her B.S. degree in accounting. She was promoted to secretary, then accountant at the Illinois Department of Revenue before becoming the revenue auditor. In 1958, Collins married George W. Collins, and in 1959, their son, Kevin, was born. Collins served as committeewoman of the Twenty-fourth Ward Regular Democratic Organization, where she gained her first political experience. She also participated in her husband’s campaigns for alderman, committeeman and U.S. Representative.

Tragically, on December 8, 1972, George W. Collins died in a plane crash. Six months later, Collins was elected to Congress in the June 5, 1973 special election to replace her husband. In 1978, she became the first African American and first woman to chair the Manpower and Housing subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee and to be named Democratic whip-at-large in the House. One year later, she was elected president of the Congressional Black Caucus. From 1983 to 1991, she served as chair of the Government Activities and Transportation (GAT) Subcommittee, where she helped pass laws that controlled the transport of toxic materials and helped provide more secure air travel. She also introduced the Non- Discrimination in Advertising Act, which denied federal tax write-offs to major advertising firms that ignored black-owned communications media, both print and broadcast. In 1990, she wrote a law that expanded Medicare coverage for screening mammography for millions of elderly and disabled women, and in 1991, she was named chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Competitiveness. In Congress, she focused on establishing universal health insurance, providing for gender equity in college sports, and reforming federal child care facilities. In 1993, she authored the Child Safety Protection Act, which requires warning labels on dangerous toys and federal safety standards for bicycle helmets. In 1996, Collins chose to retire and did not run for re-election.

The recipient of honorary degrees from Barber-Scotia College, Spelman College, and Winston-Salem State University, Collins was elected to the Black Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1990, the Congressional Black Caucus presented Collins with the William L. Dawson Award for Legislative Development, and in 1991, she was honored with an American Black Achievement Award for government service. The American Advertising Foundation established the Cardiss Collins Scholarship for Diversity in Advertising at the University of Illinois in 1996, which provides a full-tuition scholarship to a freshman University of Illinois student in advertising.

Collins passed away on February 3, 2013 at the age of 81.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Cardiss Collins' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers her great-grandfather, Erasmus White
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her parents' relationship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her likeness to her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls segregation in Cairo, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her home in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her after school routine
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers her early church experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her reasons for leaving St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers attending Banneker Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls moving to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes Hastings Street in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls transferring to the High School of Commerce in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her early love of reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers Detroit, Michigan's music scene
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her experiences at High School of Commerce
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her mother's love of baseball
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls moving to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers attending night school at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls meeting her husband
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her husband, George Collins
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers her neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her husband's entry into politics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers prominent African American politicians in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her husband's election to the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes Chicago's South Side and West Side
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her husband's career on the Chicago City Council
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her husband's experiences in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s stay in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers the riots following Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about the problems on Chicago's West Side
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls being asked to run for U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her decision to run for U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her congressional campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her experiences serving in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls the priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers notable peers in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her agenda on the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her biggest accomplishments and challenges in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her interactions with Ralph Metcalfe
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers Gus Savage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about Chicago Mayor Harold Washington
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls her retirement from the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about President Richard Milhous Nixon's administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers her black female contemporaries in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins recalls Clarence Thomas' appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins remembers President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton's administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes her role as chair emeritus of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins talks about her trajectory to the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins shares her plans for the future
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Cardiss Collins narrates her photographs