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April 15 a day to honor Chicago's first African-American mayor

  • Chicago Mayor Harold Washington at his inauguration at Navy Pier on April 29, 1983.
Chicago Mayor Harold Washington at his inauguration at Navy Pier on April… (Val Mazzenga/Chicago Tribune )
April 10, 2013|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Harold Washington was Chicago's only African-American mayor. Mayor Eugene Sawyer served from 1987-1989.

This month marks 30 years since Harold Washington was elected as Chicago's first African-American mayor.

Ald. Will Burns (4th) submitted a resolution on Wednesday to the City Council to honor Washington and declare April 15 as Harold Washington Day. The council approved the resolution.

"Harold is iconic for me because he showed us how we could build coalitions that are multi-racial to advance goals in a pragmatic way," Burns said. "Without him, I don't think I would have chosen to go into public service."

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said she worked on Washington's campaign. "As a young adult, it was very, very exciting for me to be part of this movement that was going on in Chicago," she said.

"It was electrifying and it was magnetic and everybody wanted to be part of it."

Washington was elected in 1983 and re-elected in 1987. He served as mayor until his death later in 1987.

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