Former West Side Congresswoman Cardiss Collins died of natural causes during the weekend, according to a statement from U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th), who succeeded her in 1997.
Collins was elected to the 7th Congressional District office in 1973 after her husband who held the seat, former U.S. Rep. George Collins, died in an airplane crash in 1972.
Read the Chicago Sun-Times’ article “Former Rep. Cardiss Collins, 81, remembered as ‘trailblazer‘” and Collins’ obituary here.
During her more than two decades in Congress, Jet Magazine hailed her as a trailblazer, Davis said.
“She was the first African-American woman elected to the Congress from the Midwest, and for nearly a decade after being elected, she was also the first African-American woman elected to Democratic Party leadership: whip at large,” he added. “For nearly a decade after her election, she was the only African-American woman in the Congress.”
Davis said Collins led efforts to curtail credit fraud against women, advocated for providing gender equity in college sports, reformed federal child care facilities, chaired the Government Activities and Transportation Sub-Committee and chaired the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
“Cardiss Collins was a serious advocate for women and working people,” Davis said. “We appreciate her service and mourn her death.”
For more on the story, read Austin Weekly News’ “‘Trailblazer’ Cardiss Collins dies.”
Read Collins’ full biography here.