Harold Washington: Gone But Not Forgotten

This November marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Harold Washington, Chicago's first African American mayor. Mayor Washington attended a ribbon cutting in the Kenwood Oakland neighborhood the morning of November 25, 1987, and returned to City Hall, where he suffered a fatal heart attack. Chicagoans from every walk of life mourned this charismatic leader, but his legacy lives on.

Chicago Public Library named its new central library in his honor, and now, between six and eight thousand people visit Harold Washington Library Center every single day.

Some come to look at the art dedicated to the late mayor, like the wonderful Jacob Lawrence mosaic, Events in the Life of Harold Washington, or the vibrant mural Communidad, Si, It Takes a Vision by Marcus Akinlana, Hector Duarte, Olivia Gude, Nina Smoot-Cain, Roberto Valdez and John Pitman Weber.

Others visit Called to the Challenge, the exhibit on the 9th floor that details some of his key achievements as mayor. Some come to research and use the Harold Washington Archives & Collections in the Special Collections Division, while others check out a book about him to take home, a few of which are suggested here.

As we Chicagoans give thanks this season for all that we have, say a thank you to a great mayor who lives on for so many of us.


Harold Washington

Chicago Divided

Harold Washington and the Neighborhoods

Bashing Chicago Traditions

Fire on the Prairie