Harold Washington Was Chicago’s First Black Mayor, But Who Else Was He? | WBEZ
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Harold Washington Was Chicago’s First Black Mayor, But Who Else Was He?

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Mayor Harold Washington’s untimely death on the day before Thanksgiving shocked the city. It also created confusion inside and outside City Hall, and served as a reminder of the racial tension at play in a city that had elected its first African American mayor four years before his death.

On the 30th anniversary of the death of Chicago’s first black mayor, Morning Shift talks to the people who knew Harold Washington, those who covered his time in office, and hear from callers about their memories of him. 

TV journalist Laura Washington was Washington’s Deputy Press Secretary, and Jacky Grimshaw was with him from the early days as a political advisor and later a director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Both join the Morning Shift to share stories about the man behind the politics. 

We then look at the legacy of Harold Washington with the journalists who covered his reign over City Hall, and the chaotic political theater that played out after his death. Reporters Cheryl Corley and John Holden stop by to re-track the details of the day. We also hear from former aldermen Dick Mell, who played a critical role in the Council Wars, which broke out after Harold Washington’s untimely death.

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