Harold Washington

American politician, former Mayor of the city of Chicago (1922—1987)

Harold Lee Washington (April 15, 1922 – November 25, 1987) was an American lawyer and politician. He became the first African-American Mayor of Chicago, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.[1] Before, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 1st congressional district. He was also a member of the Illinois State Senate and Illinois House of Representatives.

Harold Washington
51st Mayor of Chicago
In office
April 29, 1983 – November 25, 1987
Preceded byJane Byrne
Succeeded byDavid Orr (acting)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1981 – April 30, 1983
Preceded byBennett Stewart
Succeeded byCharles A. Hayes
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 26th district
In office
May 7, 1977 – November 20, 1980
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 26th district
In office
March 22, 1965 – August 8, 1976
Personal details
Harold Lee Washington

(1922-04-15)April 15, 1922
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedNovember 25, 1987(1987-11-25) (aged 65)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Resting placeOak Woods Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Dorothy Finch
(m. 1942; div. 1950)
Domestic partnerMary Ella Smith (1967–1987)
EducationRoosevelt University (BA)
Northwestern University (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1942–1945
RankFirst Sergeant
UnitUnited States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Forces
Battles/warsWorld War II
 • South Pacific
 • Central Pacific

Washington was born on April 15, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He studied at Roosevelt College and at Northwestern University School of Law.

He was married to Nancy Dorothy Finch from 1942 until they divorced in 1950. Then he was engaged to Mary Ella Smith until his death in 1987.

During his first term as mayor, Washington led the city through the "council wars" which were intense political disagreements between city hall and the city council.[3] Despite this, Washington enjoyed positive approval among the city's residents.[4]

Washington died suddenly on November 25, 1987 in Chicago City Hall from a heart attack, aged 65.[5]

A 1993 survey of historians, political scientists and urban experts conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago ranked Washington as the nineteenth-best American big-city mayor to have served between the years 1820 and 1993.[6] The Harold Washington Library is named after him.

References change

  1. Davis, Robert (April 12, 1983). "The election of Harold Washington the first black mayor of Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  2. Hamlish Levinsohn, Florence (1983). Harold Washington: A Political Biography. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 0-914091-40-9.
  3. Sheppard (May 17, 1983). "Rebels Win Court Decision in Chicago Council Dispute". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  4. Moser, Whet (February 1, 2016). "Rahm Emanuel: The Least Popular Mayor in Modern Chicago History". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  5. Davis, Robert (November 26, 1987). "Mayor's death stuns city – black leader, 65, on verge of a dream". Retrieved January 26, 2008.
  6. Holli, Melvin G. (1999). The American Mayor. University Park: PSU Press. ISBN 0-271-01876-3.

Other websites change