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 Harold Washington

Legacy Committee

. . . the man, the moment, the movement!


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Roosevelt University Scholarship

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The Harold Washington Legacy Committee commemorated the former Chicago mayor on Wednesday , November 22, 2023, with a wreath-laying ceremony at Oak Woods Cemetery.

Harold Washington, who became Chicago's first African American mayor in 1983, died 36 years ago on November 25, 1987, while working in his office.  This ceremony is a way of keeping Harold’s legacy alive.


During the event, speakers highlighted Washington's enduring impact on politics beyond his tenure as mayor, emphasizing his influential role as a prominent voice for the state and the nation.   


They praised Washington as the inaugural organizer of the nation's first Back caucus within the Illinois legislature, acknowledging the substantial advancements he facilitated in healthcare, housing, education, employment, and criminal justice reform and  reiterated the significance of minority representation and the path to empowerment that Washington championed, emphasizing his immeasurable influence on the state.

Washington, who served as Chicago's 51st mayor, was elected to the position in 1983. Prior to his mayoral tenure, Washington held positions in the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives from 1965 to 1976.

The Harold Washington Legacy Scholarship

Harold Wash commencement

About Us

"The Year of Harold: A Centennial Celebration"

The Mayor Harold Washington Legacy Committee designated all of the year 2022 "The Year of Harold: A Centennial Celebration" to commemorate Harold Washington's 100th birthday, which wasApril 15, 2022.  

Photo: Centennial Event Chair Loisteen Walker on the left, MHWLC President Josie Childs on the right

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Who we are

 We are a nonprofit organization whose mission and principles are shaped by our unwavering conviction that Harold Washington was one of our nation’s most influential, effective, and transformative mayors.  We were founded in 2013 by Josie Childs, a community and political activist and close associate of Harold Washington.  Many of our original members worked in his  historic 1983 mayoral campaign or his administration or both.

Our mission is to perpetuate and honor the enduring legacy of Mayor Harold Lee Washington. Through education, commemoration, and events, we strive to inspire movements towards a more just and inclusive Chicago, promote social justice, and ensure that Washington’s legacy continues to inspire positive change.

What we do

Through a variety of educational and civic activities, we attempt to immortalize the global impact of Harold Washington’s social, civic, political and economic legacy. We educate the public about his pivotal role in advancing civil rights, housing equality, and voting access.

How we work

Areas of our involvement
                       . . . past events

Voter Registration

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                                    --October 4, 2014

6K VOTER REGISTRATION call to action walk through the neighborhood where Harold Washington lived and worked, passing sites significant to him, and ending on the steps of historic Bethel church.

Prepare the Future

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                                                  -- 2021      A new Roosevelt University scholarship was established in 2021 through a partnership between Roosevelt University and the Mayor Harold Washington Legacy Committee.

Voter Education

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                                -- March 16, 2019

One of our community forums held to interview candidates for elected office; this one, held at Bethel Church,  featured candidates for mayor of Chicago.

Commemorate the Past

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                              --November 25, 2020

Our annual wreath laying ceremony at the gravesite of Harold Washington on the anniversary of his death.

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                                                                                                -- November 14, 2014

Photo of some members of the Mayor Harold Washington Legacy Committee attending a Harold Washington library ceremony at which Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel commemorated a plaque to be mounted on the exterior of that library in honor of Mayor Harold Washington.  The Mayor Harold Washington Legacy Committee was instrumental in getting that plaque project launched.

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