The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

The Honorable Earlean Collins

Share on Social Media

Information about The Honorable Earlean Collins

Profile image of The Honorable Earlean Collins

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
City Commissioner
County Commissioner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Blue, Green
Favorite Food:
Fish, Vegetables
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Birthplace

Born:
9/4/1937
Birth Location:
Rolling Fork, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
City Commissioner
County Commissioner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Blue, Green
Favorite Food:
Fish, Vegetables
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Birthplace

Born:
9/4/1937
Birth Location:
Rolling Fork
See how The Honorable Earlean Collins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Earlean Collins was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and was one of fourteen children. Collins moved to Chicago, Illinois, as a teenager and graduated from Wendell Phillips High School. She later attended the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus.

Collins’ introduction to Illinois politics came through her marriage to Otis Collins, who served for eight years in the Illinois House of Representatives. However, Collins and her husband separated and by 1975 she was living in Oak Park, Illinois, and working for the Department of Children and Family Services. She was encouraged at that time to run for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly. Collins became the first African American female to be elected to the Illinois Senate in 1976.

In the Senate, Collins served on the Committees on Insurance, Appropriations, Pensions & Licensed Activities and Elementary & Secondary Education. In addition, she chaired both the Transportation and the Developmentally Disabled Homeless Committees and was Vice-Chairperson of the Labor and Commerce Committee. She was the first African American female in a leadership position in the State Senate, serving as Democratic Leader of the Executive Committee. Among the pieces of legislation introduced by Collins was a proposal directing the Illinois police to draw up guidelines for high-speed pursuits. She also sponsored a bill to require handgun buyers to complete an eight-hour firearm safety course.

In 1994, Collins ran for the position of State Comptroller of Illinois. She received the nomination of her party, but was ultimately defeated. Five years later, she resigned from the Senate after two decades to run for Commissioner of the Cook County Board, where she currently serves. Remarried, Collins is the mother of one son. She has been honored by the Chicago Urban League, receiving their “Beautiful People Award.”

See how The Honorable Earlean Collins is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earlean Collins' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earlean Collins lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earlean Collins talks about her parents, Charlie and Cary Branch
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earlean Collins shares her memories of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earlean Collins talks about her father's death
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earlean Collins talks about her special relationship with her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earlean Collins describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earlean Collins talks about her father and her experiences with racism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earlean Collins recalls her school years and her history of public speaking
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Earlean Collins reflects upon the influence of her favorite teachers, her mother, and black history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Earlean Collins talks about how her family's move to Chicago
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Earlean Collins describes her run for the Illinois General Assembly in 1975
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earlean Collins talks about her first campaign in 1975 for the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earlean Collins describes her ex-husband Otis Collins and his experience in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earlean Collins details her college education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earlean Collins recalls her work with seniors, students, and teenage mothers as an Illinois State Senator
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earlean Collins talks about national unity and progress
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earlean Collins talks about breaking barriers in the Illinois State Senate
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earlean Collins describes her work as Cook County Commissioner
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earlean Collins talks about running for Cook County Commissioner
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earlean Collins describes her personal sacrifices as a politician
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earlean Collins reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earlean Collins talks about campaigning without major funds
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earlean Collins lists her hobbies
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earlean Collins talks about The HistoryMakers