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July 7, 2020

1977 Ernest Collins Elected to Warrensburg City Council

Ernest Collins
After publishing so many pictures of Johnson County residents who have been long gone and forgotten, it's refreshing to find some negatives in the Simmon's Studio collection of a man who many knew.
Ernest Collins, a life-long resident of Warrensburg was the son of Laura Frances and William Collins. He graduated from Howard School in 1947.

Ernest Collins
He spent 20 years in the Air Force. Here is a picture of Ernest and his brother, Kenneth, taken in the early 50s after Kenneth joined the Army.

After Ernest retired from the Air Force he worked for another 20 years as a civilian mechanic at Whiteman AFB. Mr. Collins has been active in community affairs for many years. In 1977, he was elected to the Warrensburg City Council for a three-year term. He became the first black ever elected to the Warrensburg governing body. He was a leader in the effort to save Howard School and preserve it as a historical structure. He was also on the Warrensburg Housing Authority Board for several years.

In the book, "An Informal History of Black Families of the Warrensburg, Missouri Area," by Lucille D. Gress, Collins recalled the days of segregation in Warrensburg. "I always lived in an integrated neighborhood but I went to a segregated school. I was a grown man before I could get into the restaurant; I had to go to the back door in the early 194os. I had to go to the dentist after 5:00 p.m."
from the Accidental History Blog by Peggy Nuckles

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