Date Of Production
circa 1985 – 1987
Montage of several different political and public events in Chicago between 1985 and 1987.
The footage begins in early 1985, as Mayor Harold Washington and others knock on doors for several aldermanic candidates. A Special Election had been called by a federal judge after seven Chicago wards were redrawn, increasing the voting power of Chicago's Black and Hispanic populations. The election had potential to shift control of the city council to Washington during the gridlock of "Council Wars" during Washington's first term as mayor. First we see Washington going door-to-door in Pilsen and Little Village with 22nd Ward candidate Jesús "Chuy" García, Chicago Bears' defensive end Richard Dent, and Illinois attorney general candidate Marty Oberman. Political signs for García, 20th Ward Candidate Cesar Olivo, and Cook County Board of Commissioners candidate Jerry "Iceman" Butler abound. This is followed by brief scenes at W 85th St and S Winchester Ave in Auburn Gresham, where Washington campaigns with Oberman and 18th Ward candidate Monica Faith Stewart. Later we see Washington campaigning with 26th Ward candidate Luis Gutiérrez.
This is followed by small fragments of footage including scenes from a white power rally in Marquette Park, signs for Sheila Jones for Mayor, and former Mayor Jane Byrne at a Gay Pride Parade. Next, Harold Washington is seen giving a speech in Lincoln Park. He talks about gender equality, civil rights, and how he will sign an ordinance guaranteeing gay and lesbian rights. Next is an extended sequence of a Neo-Nazi rally in Lincoln Park which was met by a large group of protesters. A man with "FUCK NAZIS" written across his face is interviewed.
At a different event, Washington talks to a crowd about gender discrimination and how his administration has more women in high-level positions than any previous mayor. This is followed by an interview with Washington aid Clarence McClain, who talks in an office about the Washington administration and having "street knowledge."
Downtown, Sheila Jones campaigns for mayor, waving a Club of Life banner in front of a Fannie May. A man speaks into a megaphone about abortion.
After brief footage of Jane Byrne at a Pride Parade where a woman sings "Which Side Are You On," the camera moves to a Stamp Out Racist Graffiti event in Uptown on September 20, 1986. Young neo-Nazis protest the event, holding signs that read "Hitler was Right" and chanting "white power." They walk past the Wooden Nickel bar at W Wilson & N Clifton avenues. Demonstrators chant "hey hey, ho ho, Nazi scum as got to go" and "no Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA." Walter "Slim" Coleman talks to the camera about the event.
Next, Washington speaks at two separate events about bringing people together and expanding civil rights and liberties in Chicago. Then, at a Gospel Music Festival, Harold Washington and his fiancée Mary Ella Smith talk to legendary Gospel songwriter Thomas Dorsey.
After a brief scene at a campaign event, Washington is now seen in front of the Picasso statue at Daley Plaza for the 1987 Chicago Sesquicentennial celebration. A man asks independent filmmaker Tom Palazzolo about his camera equipment. Washington talks about the Picasso sculpture and leads the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to Chicago. The sparklers on the cake ignite.
The rest of the film focuses on US Representative Bill Lipinski. Press gaggle around Lipinski as he enters City Hall. At an outdoor rally, he speaks about the importance of registering to vote in front of a banner that partially "IS THE GOVERNOR CRAZY?". One person in the crowd holds a sign that says "What about the quality of life for the mentally ill?". Another says "We need an override veto."
32 min 32 sec
color and B&W
Has Been Digitized?
Language Of Materials
Participants And Performers