Harold Lee Washington

Washington, Harold Lee, 1922–87, African-American politician, b. Chicago. A lawyer, he entered Illinois state government in 1965 as a Democratic representative, becoming state senator in 1976. In 1980 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Running for mayor of Chicago as a progressive candidate, he defeated sitting mayor Jane Byrne in the primary and went on to win the 1983 general election. The first African American to hold the office, Washington won reelection in 1987 but died seven months later.

See studies by P. Clavel and W. Wiewel, ed. (1991), and G. Rivlin (1993).

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