The Urban History Seminar series features a scholarly presentation followed by lively discussion. Gordon Mantler, Executive Director, University Writing Program, and Associate Professor of Writing and of History, The George Washington University, presents “The Multiracial Promise: Coalition, Mayoral Politics, and the Legacy of Harold Washington.”

The election of Harold Washington in 1983 as the first Black mayor of Chicago reveals both the promise of multiracial coalition in the 1980s and the peril of placing too many resources in electoral politics alone. His electoral victories not only established the charismatic politician as a folk hero, but also underscored the great potential for the era’s progressive, mostly Democratic urban politics when Ronald Reagan and other political conservatives appeared resurgent. Yet what could be called the Washington era revealed clear limits to electoral politics when decoupled from neighborhood-based movement organizing and, thus, could be considered a cautionary tale about the risks of placing too much weight on elections above all other civic action.

The Zoom session will open at 6:45 p.m. with the program starting at 7:00 p.m. and concluding by 8:15 p.m. RSVP is required.

This session is free of charge; we would greatly appreciate a donation to the Museum in any amount. A Zoom link will be provided after registration.

The Urban History Seminars have been generously underwritten by the Chicago History Museum since 1983.

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