A picture of Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor N.
Democrat DC 0

About Rep. Eleanor
  • Paying Tribute to Cardiss Collins, Former Member of Congress

    by Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton

    Posted on 2013-02-26

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    NORTON asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend her remarks.) Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, Cardiss Collins, who died earlier this month, was not the first African American woman elected to the House, but when I was elected in 1990, along with three other Black women, the small number had dwindled to one. Cardiss was alone. Today there are 15, one-third of the Congressional Black Caucus. But Cardiss Collins was more than able to hold the fort by herself.

    Although she got the seat when her husband died in a tragic plane crash, Cardiss managed to transform herself from a grieving widow to a highly effective Illinois Congresswoman, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic whip, and champion of women and minorities.

    Cardiss retired in 1997 as the longest-serving Black female in Congress, having gotten 79 percent of the vote in her last election. Cardiss Collins left Congress at the top of her game with a record that will long survive her.


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