(CBS Detroit) - Former United States Rep. Barbara-Rose Collins, the first Black woman from Michigan elected to Congress, has died.
She was 82 years old.
According to The Detroit News, Collins political career began 50 years ago when she ran for a seat on the Detroit Board of Education. In 1974, she then ran for the Michigan House of Representatives, serving three terms.
According to her congressional biography, she planned to go for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980; however, with advice from her mentor Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, she instead ran for city Detroit City Council and was elected. Her drive for the federal seat did not stop and in 1990, she ran successfully for the congressional seat, succeeding Rep. George William Crockett Jr.
(GettyImages) Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla. and Rep. Barbara-Rose Collins, D-Mich. during government opposition markup session, just before Government Accountability Office hearings on October 28, 1993. (Photo by Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)"n
She served a second stint on city council from 2005 to 2009, according to WWJ.
"My heart breaks to hear of the passing of Rep. Barbara Rose Collins," Rep. Brenda Lawrence said on Twitter.
"She was a lifelong fighter for her communities, and she will be sorely missed."
Collins was born Barbara Rose Richardson on April 13, 1939, in Detroit. She graduated from Cass Technical High School and then attended Wayne State University.
Detroit Board of Police Commissioners Chair Rev. Jim Holley issued the following statement:
"Barbara-Rose Collins was a servant of the people. From the School Board, State Legislature, City Council and Congress, she used her voice and advocacy to support Detroit, city residents, and every neighborhood. Far too often, people saw her beautiful, wide eyes and made the mistake of underestimating her – to their quick regret. She always fought against racism and for social justice. I recall her taking criticism for her vocal opposition to President Clinton's popular crime bill because she saw it as unjust and biased. In that and much more, Barbara-Rose was unafraid to stand and fight for what she believed in and what she believed was right. Our city has lost a beloved daughter, torchbearer, and leader. Many of us who have served on the Board of Police Commissioners knew Barbara-Rose and were fortunate to have her as a friend. Our prayers and sympathy go to all her family and many friends."
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