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Joanne Collins

Political leader and city council member Joanne Collins was born on August 29, 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri to William and Mary Frances Mitchell. She attended Attucks Elementary School, Northeast Junior High School, and Sumner High School. Collins attended the University of Kansas from 1953 to 1955, and went on to receive her B.A. degree in political science from Stephens College and her M.A. degree in business administration from Baker University.

After attending the University of Kansas, Collins worked as a postal clerk in Kansas City, Missouri, as a real estate agent for Robert Hughes and Company, and in community outreach at a local bank. During this time, she was an active member in the League of Women Voters and the Missouri and Jackson County Republican committees, and was appointed vice-chair of the Missouri advisory committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In 1974, she was the first African American woman elected to serve on the Kansas City Council. Collins was re-elected to the position in the 1975, 1979, 1983, and 1987 general elections before retiring in 1991. During her tenure as councilwoman, she served as chair of the youth development committee, the community action committee, and the finance and audit committee, and as mayor pro-tem and acting mayor. Collins also worked part-time at United Missouri Bank while on city council.

Collins has volunteered with over fifty organizations. She served on the MOKAN Advisory Board and the Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center Advisory Board/KU. She was a member of Salvation Army, Church Women United/KCMO, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and a lifelong member of the St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church/KCKS. She was also a member of the Black Women’s Political Congress, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Midwest Christian Counseling Center, and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

Collins received the Harriet Tubman Award from A.M.E. Zion in 1976, the Living Legend Award from the Heartland Women’s Leadership Council in 2010, and the James C. Denneny Spirit Award from the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City in 2013.

Collins has two children, six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, two step-children, and six step-grandchildren.

Joanne Collins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.123

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/7/2019

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Marcella

Organizations
Schools

Crispus Attucks Elementary School

Northeast Junior High School

University of Kansas

Baker University

Charles L. Sumner High School

Stephens College

First Name

Joanne

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

COL39

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago

Favorite Quote

None

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

8/29/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Political leader and city council member Joanne Collins (1935- ) was the first African American woman elected to the Kansas City council, serving from 1974 to 1991.

Employment

Hull House

Kansas City Post Office

Robert Hughes and Company

Kansas City City Council

United Missouri Bank

Clendenning Medical Library

Kansas City, Missouri City Council

Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company Junior Association

Hall's Crown Center - Retail Sales Division

Wheatley Provident Hospital

The Greater Kansas City Baptist and Community Hospital Association, Inc.

United States Department of Commerce

United States Post Office

Favorite Color

Red