Date Of Production
Loosely edited footage of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and other political figures during the 1987 mayoral campaign.
The film begins with footage of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington addressing the press around Christmastime. After answering a question about Commonwealth Edison and giving Christmas wishes, young fans excitedly greet him on the street.
Now in a dark setting, a reporter asks Washington about fellow mayoral candidate Ed Vrdolyak's comments accusing Chicago's Black community of not supporting Richard Elrod's campaign for Cook County Sheriff due to antisemitism. Washington rebuts that Elrod received 80% of the Black vote, calls Vrdolyak's remarks “a canard," and wonders why the media hasn't asked Vrdolyak about the comment.
Next, Washington greets a group holding a banner reading "Buklurang Pilipino for Washington." Someone holds a sign that says "Washington Means Jobs for Filipino Americans," and the crowd chants "Harold! Harold!" Then, Chicago's Assyrian community welcomes Washington with a banner that reads "Assyrian Citizens for Mayor Harold Washington." Washington shakes hands and greets the crowd in a north side business district.
Now in the 29th Ward, Washington and Danny K. Davis attend a campaign rally at a Black church. Washington makes a speech, saying he is stronger than he was four years ago and that “Chicago needs to be saved. We’ve got to be ambassadors of good cheer, credibility, honesty, loyalty, commitment. And we can do it. Who can do it better than we?” Before the footage trails off, he talks about the "remnants of the old Democratic Party."
This is followed by footage of activist Lu Palmer talking to the press at the Chicago Office of Fine Arts. He tells them that his lawyer has told him not to answer any of their questions (they might be talking about Palmer's libel lawsuit against Vrdolyak and WBBM-AM for broadcasting radio commercials using a recording of Palmer saying that "No, not one" white candidate could represent Chicago's Black community as mayor. Palmer charged that the use of his voice caused him "disrepute in his community.")
Next are shots of a TV set, which shows Washington, Vrdolyak, Tom Hynes, and Don Haider debating. Afterwards, Hynes and Haider field questions from the press. Bruce DuMont explains that the other candidates exited through the front door. An out-of-focus Washington then answers the question "are you satisfied with the issues that were addressed tonight?" with a "no," saying the debate could have used more of a discussion of Chicago's police department and how the city handles crime. He also complains that the debate was too short. A journalist tells Washington he didn't seem his usual "loose, confident" self on the stage; Washington disagrees.
Next, at a campaign event for Washington, city council member Chuy García introduces Senator Edward Kennedy, calling him a "true ally" of working people. Kennedy then gives a speech, saying Washington "represents the best in the Democratic Party" and that "everybody is watching what will happen here on April 7." He introduces Washington; the crowd chants "Harold! Harold!" Washington touts Kennedy's democratic credentials, and thanks him for journeying to Chicago to help the city restore the dignity of the party. Next, Kennedy is seen singing in Spanish with a mariachi band. As he exits, someone yells "Kennedy for President!"
After some time at another campaign event, Stamets films someone driving around listening to local political talk radio off a tape player. This is followed by scenes of "Hynes for Mayor" yard signs featuring a gaggle of multi-ethnic children.
Next is silent footage of former Mayor Jane Byrne on stage with Washington at Chicago's Conrad Hilton Hotel. A banner behind her reads "Winners' Circle Reception for Mayor Washington - Promises Made - Promises Kept." While the former rivals are stone-faced on stage, they both crack smiles while talking to ABC 7 reporter Andy Shaw together afterwards.
This is followed by a shot of a television screen (possibly at Washington's campaign headquarters), where Byrne is seen in a political ad endorsing Washington. Washington campaign adviser David Axelrod talks to the press about Byrne's ad and denies that there was a quid pro quo for Byrne's endorsement.
The film ends with footage of Washington's fiancée Mary Ella Smith, Byrne, and Washington waving and shaking hands with the crowd at the Hilton.
32 min 1 sec
Has Been Digitized?
Language Of Materials
Participants And Performers
Smith, Mary Ella