Harold Washington Our Next Mayor

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Blue rim with white text around a black and white portrait photograph of Harold Washington

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Harold Washington was the first African-American mayor of Chicago; he held the position from 1983-1987. A Chicagoan from birth, Washington served in the army during World War II, and later moved into a career in politics: first as a Chicago Alderman, then in the Illinois state congress in the 60s and 70s, and then as US Congressman in the 1980s where he fought to defend the Voting Rights Act, the Equal Rights Act, and became known for advocating for issues important to his Black and Latino constituents. He ran for and won election as Chicago mayor in 1983. In 1987 he ordered a design competition for a new central library in downtown Chicago, and though Washington passed away from a sudden heart attack in November 1987, the library was dedicated and named for him in 1991—one of many institutions in the city named for Mayor Washington. Considered a strong orator, the Chicago Public Library created a digital archive of his speeches that can be accessed online. 


Chicago Public Library. (n.d.). About Harold Washington Library Center. Retrieved January 31, 2024, from https://www.chipublib.org/about-hwlc/


Harold Washington: Selected Speeches Digital Collection. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2024, from https://www.chipublib.org/harold-washington-speeches-digital-collection/


Pinderhughes, D. M. (2006). Washington, Harold. In C. A. Palmer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 2267-2268). Macmillan Reference USA. https://link-gale-com.resources.skokielibrary.info/apps/doc/CX344470127…


Wetli, P. (2021, April 13). Harold Washington’s Speeches Can’t Be Heard, But Now They Can At Least Be Read. WTTW News. https://news.wttw.com/2021/04/13/harold-washington-speeches-digitized-chicago-public-library

Catalog ID PO1257