by Asiah White
With Black History Month coming to an end, CTVN remembers one of the most influential voices here in Chicago: Harold Washington. Harold Washington was the first black mayor of Chicago and during his campaign CTVN was able to capture some memorable moments toward the end of his career.
Washington served as mayor for four years (April 1983- November 1987) until his passing due to a heart attack. Washington’s positivity voice became a powerful force in Chicago. He pushed for growth in all areas of the city and this philosophy touched the hearts of many previously ignored citizens.
His goal was to create an environment where people came together to uplift each other. During a press conference, which CTVN features in the documentary “Harold Washington and the Neighborhoods,” he proclaimed:
“We’re not anything but anti-evil. We’re not anti-anything but racism. We’re not anti-anything but hatred. We’re not anti anything but segregation and prejudice. That’s what were against. We’re not against people.”
Washington made sure all communities were when it came to his decisions, that everyone’s voice was heard. He increased government visibility by regularly hosting public press conferences, and put into place programs where the public voices could be heard. Washington and his team were heavily involved in assisting impoverished neighborhoods, distributing economic resources as best they could.
Even decades after his sudden death, Chicago has so much respect for this man of reform and prosperity. He was honored with a school and library named after his legacy, testaments and reminders to younger generations of who he was and what he stood for.