Lawyer, congressman, and first African-American mayor of the city of Chicago, Illinois (1983-1987). Harold Washington was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. Throughout his life he held several political offices prior to becoming mayor, including: member of the Illinois House of Representatives (1965-1976), member of the Illinois Senate (1976-1980), and member of the U. S. House of Representatives (1980-1983). Washington became mayor of Chicago in 1983 after receiving 51 percent of the vote. He wrote in his first inagural speech in April of 1983 "I hope someday to be remembered by history as the mayor who cared about people and who was, above all, fair." Shortly after winning re-election to a second term in 1987, Mayor Washington died suddenly at his desk at City Hall of a heart attack on the morning of November 25, 1987 to the shock of the citizens of Chicago. Chicagoans mourned Washington and the media estimated that two hundred thousand to half a million mourners passed by Washington's open casket. As mayor, Harold Washington is remembered for rebuilding Chicago's neighborhoods, rescuing the city from financial troubles and opening city government to full citizen participation.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson