"I hope someday to be remembered by history as the mayor who cared about people and who was, above all, fair."
—Harold Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 29, 1983
The Harold Washington: Fairer Than Fair exhibit runs through August 20 in Harold Washington Library Center's Congress Corridor on the ground floor.
This exhibit captures the charisma of Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago's first African American mayor. Having served in the Illinois House of Representatives, the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Congress, he was elected mayor in 1983 after a difficult primary and general election. He was reelected in 1987 but died in office on November 25th that same year. He is fondly remembered by many Chicagoans as being fairer than fair.
Perhaps because of his own personal experience, Harold Washington fought for fair treatment for all residents, regardless of race, neighborhood, religion or any other category people were slotted into. Fairness was his watchword. More than this, Harold Washington tirelessly reached out to underrepresented communities, such as African Americans in Chicago and brought them into his government, often for the first time. He established advisory commissions to hear from the gay and lesbian community, the Asian-American community, women and the Latino community, often appointing members of these groups to senior positions within his government.