Cardiss Collins, U.S. House of Representatives   Leave a comment

Cardiss H. Collins, originally Cardiss Robertson, (born September 24, 1931) is a Democratic politician from Illinois who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1997. She was the first African American woman to represent the Midwest in Congress.

Collins was elected to Congress in the June 5, 1973 special election to replace her husband, George, who had died in the December 8, 1972 United Airlines Flight 553 plane crash. The seat had been renumbered from the 6th district to the 7th when she took the seat. She had previously worked as an accountant in various state government positions.

  Congressional career

In 1979, she was elected as president of the Congressional Black Caucus, a position she used to become an occasional critic of President Jimmy Carter. She later became the caucus vice chairman.

In the 1980s, Collins warded off two primary challenges from Alderman Danny K. Davis, who would finally be elected to replace her in 1996.[citation needed] In 1990, Collins, long with 15 other African American women and men, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.[1]

In 1991, Collins was named chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Her legislative interests were focused on establishing universal health insurance, providing for gender equity in college sports, and reforming federal child care facilities.

Collins gained a brief national prominence in 1993 as the chairwoman of a congressional committee investigating college sports and as a critic of the NCAA. During her last term (1995–1997), she served as ranking member of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee. She also engaged in an intense debate with Rep. Henry Hyde over Medicaid funding of abortion that year.


Collins did not seek reelection in 1996, citing her age and the Republican majority in the House.

In 2004, Collins was selected by Nielsen Media Research to head a task force examining the representation of African Americans in TV rating samples. Collins currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia.


The United States Postal Service‘s Cardiss Collins Processing and Distribution Center, located at 433 W. Harrison St. in Chicago, Illinois, is named in her honor and was completed in 1996 to replace the old Main Post Office across the street on Van Buren Street


Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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