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The Leon and Jewel Collins Museum of African American History and Culture at the Harry T. Moore Center was dedicated on September 6, 2017. Both Leon and Jewel Collins are recognized for their passionate advocacy and significant contributions to the City of Cocoa and to Brevard County. Leon Collins was the first African American to be elected to the Cocoa City Council in 1973 where he served for ten years. Leon was known to stand firm in his beliefs and always gave his best, always for the betterment of the Cocoa community. In 1999, Jewel Collins was the first African American woman elected to the Cocoa City Council where she served through 2006. Jewel has also served on the Beautification Board, Cocoa Redevelopment Agency Board, Diamond Square Redevelopment Agency Board and Stadium Committee for the City of Cocoa. Leon and Jewel Collins were married on January 17, 1956 and together worked effortlessly as community activists for the concerns of the Citizens of Cocoa and Brevard County. In the 1960's, Leon and Jewel were among the leaders marching in Cocoa for voting rights for African Americans. They were also active members of the NAACP and the Cocoa/Rockledge Civic League.
The Harry T. Moore center, built in 1924, was the original campus of Monroe High School. Monroe High School was the first all African American school in the Cocoa Community and is the only African American High School still standing in Brevard County. The center was named for Harry T. Moore, local civil rights leader in 1954 after Monroe High School left the building. In 2015, the City of Cocoa received the Division of Historical Resources Historic Preservation Small Matching Grant and Special Category Grant to help renovate and preserve the historic building to include roofing, flooring and interior redesign for future use as a museum. The newly redesigned and restored historic building will be the home of the future Leon and Jewel Collins Museum of African American History and Culture.
If you have any items of significance to be included in the museum, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (321) 433-8480.