Illinois History Minutes

April 12 Illinois History Minute


It’s April 12th. And on this day in 1983, former congressman and state lawmaker Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago, after defeating the city’s first female mayor, Jane Byrne, in the primary.

As Chicago’s first Black mayor, Washington faced blistering opposition from the city’s white, male political establishment. Stormy city council sessions became known as “Council Wars”, a play on the then-new Star Wars movies. Washington was reelected in 1987 but died of a heart attack later that year. 

This is Chameleon from the influential Head Hunters album released in 1973 by Herbie Hancock --- born in Chicago on this day in 1940. Hancock found success creating jazz blended with funk, soul and hip-hop.