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Happy Birthday Governor Collins

March 10th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

The man considered by many to be the best governor Florida has ever had, LeRoy Collins, would have been 100 this week. Collins served from 1955 to 1961 and his moderate stand on segregation is widely considered to be the reason Florida did not erupt in civil rights battles like other states. Collins went on to be the president of the National Broadcasting Association and under Lyndon Johnson as the first director of the Community Relations Service. His lead of a civil rights march to ensure non violence in Selma Alabama is considered the key reason Collins failed in a bid to be Floridas US Senator. In later years, Collins practiced law in Tallahassee and came to believe the death penalty was wrong, calling it “Florida’s Gutter of Shame”.

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