Harold Washington Rainbow Coalition: Perspectives

On March 27, a  week ahead of the 2023 Chicago mayoral race, this webinar offered a historical view on multiracial coalitions in Chicago and their legacy in the city, particularly in relation to the 2023 mayoral contest between Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson.

The event featured moderator Juan Gonzalez (co-host of Democracy Now!) and historians Jakobi Williams (University of Indiana), Lilia Fernandez (University of Illinois Chicago), and Gordon Mantler (George Washington University).

The participants discuss the election of the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington and the possibilities of multiracial coalition and solidarity in 2023.

Here are some highlights to guide viewing.

0:00                Welcome from Teresa Cordova, Director of the Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois Chicago

3:39                Juan Gonzalez on his observations of multiracial coalitions and black mayors; and panel introductions

8:31                Jakobi Williams on historical context

10:45             Williams on Rainbow Coalition

22:03             Lilia Fernandez on Latino Chicago and multiracial coalitions

37:16             Gordon Mantler on interracial coalition and Harold Washington election and mayoralty

51:40             2023 Chicago mayoral election

53:05             Historical lessons from Washington and other mayoral elections and interracial coalition today

1:05:48         Crime as organizing theme in electoral campaigns; police brutality as unifying issue among the poor

1:10:26          Role of class in coalitions like the one that elected Harold Washington

1:13:15          Audience questions