93. Resolution in Memory of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington (Jan. 13, 1988)

Background: Harold Washington was born in Chicago on April 15, 1922, and grew up in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the city's South Side. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1964 and then joined the Illinois Senate in 1977. Washington's legislative accomplishments included helping create the Legislative Black Caucus; strengthening the Illinois Fair Employment Practices Commission; creating a state holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday in 1973 (over a decade before becoming a federal holiday); establishing the Illinois Department of Human Rights; and passing the Illinois Human Rights Act. In 1980, Washington was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In April 1983, he was elected Chicago's first African-American mayor. Washington was reelected in April 1987 but died of a sudden heart attack at his City Hall office on November 25, 1987.

The Document: January 13, 1988 was the first day that the General Assembly met after Washington's death. That day, a joint session of the House and Senate convened to eulogize the late mayor. Governor James Thompson and other state officials spoke at the ceremony. The four party leaders of the House and Senate, plus Representative Monique Davis of Chicago, introduced a memorial resolution that highlighted Washington's life and achievements. Senate President Philip Rock of Oak Park asked Illinoisans to remember Washington and his achievements during the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Copies of the resolution were given to the mayor's family and to Chicago City Council members. All of the members of the House and Senate were co-sponsors of the resolution.

Note: Upon its completion in October 1991, the Chicago Public Library's headquarters was named the Harold Washington Library Center. This resolution is available at the Illinois State Archives as part of General Assembly Record Series 600.001, "Bills, Resolutions, and Related General Assembly Records."