In 1983, Harold Washington took on the Chicago machine and won, with the help of a multiracial coalition, becoming the first Black mayor of Chicago. Winning the mayoral election was only the first fight, and 29 of the 50 alderpersons on City Council, led by the “the Eddies,” Aldermen Ed Vrdolyak and Edward M. Burke, opposed Washington’s every move. This week we look at Washington’s rise to the 5th floor of City Hall, who helped him get there, and the struggles he faced once elected.
Joining me to help us learn more about Harold Washington is Dr. Gordon K. Mantler, Executive Director of the University Writing Program and Associate Professor of Writing and of History at the George Washington University and author of The Multiracial Promise: Harold Washington's Chicago and the Democratic Struggle in Reagan's America.
Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The episode image is a photo of Harold Washington, US Federal Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
- “WASHINGTON, Harold,” HIstory, Art, and Archives, United States House of Representatives.
- “Mayor Harold Washington Biography,” Chicago Public Library.
- “Achieving the Dream: Harold Washington,” WTTW Chicago.
- “Who Was Harold Washington? A Look Back at the Legacy of Chicago's First Black Mayor,” NBC5 Chicago, April 15, 2022.
- “How Mayor Harold Washington Shaped the City of Chicago,” by Adam Doster, Chicago Magazine, April 29, 2013.
- “Punch 9 for Harold Washington [video],” directed by Joe Winston, 2021.
- “The Legacy of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington [video],” UChicago Institute of Politics, Streamed live on Apr 27, 2022.
- “ILLINOIS SETS UP AT LARGE VOTING; Governor Signs Emergency Bill for House Election,” The New York Times, January 30, 1964, Page 14.
- “Hyde Park Stories: Harold Washington Park,” by Patricia L. Morse, Hyde Park Historical Society, February 22, 2023.
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