The videos below illustrate key moments in the political career of LeRoy Collins. The films attest to the importance of character to LeRoy Collins, the considerable energy he devoted to public service and the dedication of the Collins family to maintaining their home, The Grove.
In the first video, the newly elected Governor outlines his vision for the State of Florida. The film also shows scenes from the family home, The Grove, as LeRoy Jr. returns from the Naval Academy.
Item Number: CA175
Governor LeRoy Collins makes a speech from his den about his goals and Florida's role as a state on the "threshold of greatness." There are scenes of the Collins family at home (The Grove) as they greet LeRoy Jr., home from the Naval Academy, and walk to the Governor's Mansion. The film shows all the pomp and ceremony of the inauguration itself, with speeches and everyone singing "Suwannee." After the ceremony, well-wishers file through the mansion to greet the governor and his family. There are scenes of the reception that evening in the Capitol Rotunda, including the Cabinet and Supreme Court members. Everyone does the grand march at the end. Produced by the Florida State Advertising Commission.
The second film documents Collins' dedication to the cause of civil rights. Former Governor of Florida Collins is shown marching with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1965 demonstrations in Selma, Alabama.
Item Number: V-142
This film contains footage of the March 1965 voter registration demonstrations in Selma, Alabama. There is sound at the beginning, but the majority of the film is raw footage with no sound. It first shows African-American protesters, including students, marching and singing in front of a courthouse. There is footage with sound of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking, followed by scenes of Andrew Young, John L. Lewis and other black leaders. The film also includes scenes around the Edmund Pettus Bridge, including the violent police attack on the marchers shown from a distance. An injured protester is shown being lifted by other protesters and a police officer, and there are several scenes of armed police officers before and after the violence. The film also shows Governor LeRoy Collins arriving to view the march and going to speak with Martin Luther King Jr. After the footage from 1965, there is also a fragment from a later piece, also without sound, that includes shots of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and Martin Luther King Sr.
The final video shows LeRoy Collins several years after the end of his political career. He reflects on how decisions regarding civil rights may have cost him a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1968, but ultimately, that his convictions were more important than the office. Collins also makes mention of The Grove during interviews following his nomination as a "Great Floridian."
Item Number: V146
The program starts with Collins talking about his loss in the 1968 Senate race, and the relation of that loss to the civil rights issue. Moves on to footage of Collins in the woods with a group of children discussing Kipling's poem "If." The film then moves to the 1960 Democratic Convention. Collins is introduced by Frank Church. John F. Kennedy and his family are introduced, including his mother, three of his sisters, and his two brothers. There are short clips of Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Walter Cronkite. Collins gives the opening address and introduces Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson then introduces John F. Kennedy as the next president of the United States.