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Cardiss Collins

Cardiss Collins (1931–2013) was an American politician from Illinois who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1997. A member of the Democratic Party, she was the fourth African-American woman in Congress and the first to represent a Midwestern state. Collins had previously worked as an accountant in various state government positions. She was elected to Congress in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by her husband, George W. Collins (1925–1972), who had died in the United Airlines Flight 553 plane crash. She was re-elected to the seat eleven times but did not seek a thirteenth term. At different times during her almost 24-year tenure in Congress, Collins served as chairwoman of several committees and as president and later vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Photograph: U.S. Congress; restored by Adam Cuerden

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