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The presence of Harold Washington in Jacoby’s life

By City Cast Chicago | @citycastchicago


Despite being born four years after former Mayor Harold Washington died in 1987, I knew he was more than just a politician in my community. His picture hung in every church, school, BBQ joint, and grandma’s living room. Hell, it wasn’t until I was maybe six when I realized he wasn’t the mayor.

Any young Black man with a knack for public speaking and even a little bit of charisma was dubbed a “young Harold.” So my teachers would shower me with the compliment as I leaned into the stage, performing and mimicking the late mayor’s voice. They would have preferred if I’d also taken the lawyer route, yet here we are.

My studies went beyond mimicry as a graduate student almost a decade later. I visited the Harold Washington archives to read his speeches, study his campaigns, and examine how he built a political coalition unlike anything Chicago’s Democratic machine had ever seen.

As an adult, I recognize that no politician deserves rarefied air. They all strategize, negotiate, and legislate — and someone is always left out.

But as we celebrate Harold Washington’s centennial birthday — which was Friday — I remember the kindness, brilliance, and strength that made legend out of man. He made believers out of Great Migration cynics, and that alone is worth celebrating.

🎧 Journalist Laura Washington (no relation) worked in Mayor Washington’s office. She tells us how he was the original progressive, making women, Latinx voters, and LGBTQ Chicagoans along with Black communities essential to his vision for the city.

👉 Read Laura’s Sun-Times column and watch “At the Table.”


◾ The inspector general’s office dropped its quarterly report Friday. It details several investigations, including one alleging two high-ranking police officials interfered in an investigation into a sergeant’s suicide and another involving a Streets and Sanitation worker who threatened a resident. [WTTW, Block Club Chicago]

◾ Just hours after a Good Friday celebration, the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood caught fire. The Chicago Fire Department said the fire was accidental and caused by a propane torch. [Chicago Sun-Times]

◾ We’ve had quite a few coyote sightings, but did you see the fox in Millennium Park over the weekend? [Reddit]

◾ If you owe the IRS and didn’t get the refund you’d hoped for this year, cash in on these Tax Day deals like a free sandwich or a massage! [NBC Chicago]


Thanks to everyone who came out to Karaoke Storytellers in Lakeview last night! We laughed, we sang, and you impressed us with your Chicago trivia knowledge 🤓

Miss the fun? Don’t fret — We’ll have more City Cast events coming your way, and watch this space for links to videos from last night 👀

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