Dr. L. M. Collins

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Dr. L. M. Collins

Nashville, TN

Leslie M. Collins, Ph.D., age 99, died peacefully in Franklin, Tennessee on February 23, 2014.

He was born and came of age in Alexandria, Louisiana and was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana, and received master's degrees from Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Also, he earned his doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University. In 1990, he received an honorary doctorate from Fisk University. Dr. Collins began teaching English at Fisk University in 1945 and retired in 1979. After his retirement, he continued teaching, tutoring, and mentoring students.

Dr. Collins authored books and wrote poetry, including the poem, "Stevedore." Langston Hughes regarded it as one of his favorite half dozen poems. Also, Collins reviewed books for the Nashville Tennessean for nearly fifty years.

Dr. Collins was a lifelong learner, teacher, and lover of books—both academic and popular. The Fisk University class of 1957 cited him as, "guardian of the English language and always, always the friend of students . . . (having enriched, enabled, and empowered young minds to reach for excellence)."

He is survived by his cousins, Ethel Bea (Frank) Battle of Nashville, Tennessee, Zelda R. Turner of Alexandria, Louisiana, Joseph E. (Tommy) Hines of Alexandria, Louisiana; other relatives, godchildren, friends, and colleagues.

A Memorial service will be held at noon on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at the Fisk University Memorial Chapel.


Published in The Tennessean on Feb. 26, 2014
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