About the Museum

Welcome to the Leon and Jewel Collins Museum of African American History and Culture.

Museum DedicationThis building was constructed in 1922-23 as a school to serve African American students, and is one of the only remaining Rosenwald Schools in Florida.

Educator and civil rights activist Harry T. Moore taught here in the 1920s.

The City of Cocoa renovated the building in 2014 to serve as the Leon and Jewel Collins Museum of African American History and Culture. The refurbished structure was dedicated in 2017. In 2019, this building was added to the National Register of Historical Places.

Leon Collins

Leon Collins

Leon Collins was the first African American man elected to the Cocoa City Council, where he served from 1973 to 1983. For seven of those ten years, he was also Vice Mayor. Even after retiring from the Cocoa City Council, Leon Collins remained an active community leader.

He is remembered as an effective mediator on behalf of Cocoa’s African American community, and a man who held firm to his convictions. Leon Collins worked to help the community, but also empowered people to help themselves.

Leon Collins loved playing the drums, performing with local jazz bands, and in the many countries he visited with his wife, Jewel Collins. They traveled frequently as a benefit of Leon’s work as an electrician for Pan Am World Services for 42 years.

Jewel CollinsJewel Collins

Jewel Collins was the first African American woman elected to the Cocoa City Council, where she served from 1999 to 2008. She also worked with the Diamond Square Community Redevelopment Agency.

As Deputy Mayor during her years on the council, she worked tirelessly to benefit the African American community in Cocoa, including creating better housing opportunities for local residents.

As a dedicated volunteer, Jewel Collins has worked extensively with the Fiske Boulevard Church of Christ, with the Central Brevard Recreation Center as Vice-President, and the Sunny Pines Convalescent Center where she performed in a gospel choir.