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In memory of Harold Washington

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Nearly 35 years after his death, dozens gathered at the grave of Chicago’s first black mayor Wednesday morning to celebrate his achievements and tenure.

Mayor Harold Washington’s Legacy Committee held its annual wreath ceremony at South Side’s Oak Woods Cemetery attended by former members of his staff and longtime supporters.

Washington served as mayor from 1983 until he died of a heart attack on November 25, 1987. He campaigned on his belief that race matters. During his first few days as mayor, he issued an executive order creating a Freedom of Information Act, giving citizens the right to complete and complete information about government affairs. He later established the city’s first Ethics Commission.

Carla Carmouche Rogers brought an urn containing her parents’ ashes to Wednesday’s ceremony. Her father, Linson Carmusch, was a friend of Washington’s and had dated the Young Democrats of Washington’s organized Third Ward while he was working for Aldo. 1951-1965 Ralph Metcalfe Sr. Rogers worked in his office scheduling the mayor of Washington.

“I was so proud. He was such a big part of our lives that I cried. Security guards stopped by my mom and dad’s house for dinner,” Rogers said.

“He was a wonderful person and I really miss him.”

Harold Washington Former Mayor of Chicago

Harold Washington, Mayor of Chicago. Before becoming the city’s first black mayor, Washington served in the state legislature, state legislature, and the United States House of Representatives.

Carla Kamoush Rogers poses for a photo with her parents' urn during the wreath laying ceremony at South Side Oak Woods Cemetery on Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

Carla Carmouche Rogers carries an urn containing the remains of Harold Washington’s longtime friends. Rogers worked as a scheduler in the mayor’s office.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Members of the Rich Township High School JROTC march with flags during the display of colors at the wreath laying ceremony for former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington at Oak Woods Cemetery in Southside on Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

Members of Rich Township High School JROTC marching with flags during a post of color.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

A photo of Mayor Harold Washington was laid by former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's cemetery at Oakwoods Cemetery in Southside on Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

A photo of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington is placed by his grave. As a congressman, Washington was a progressive who gained national attention as a critic of the Reagan administration’s urban policies.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Hay’Lee Young sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's wreath laying ceremony at Oak Woods Cemetery in Southside on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, police officials of former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington hold a wreath that will be placed on his grave.

Mayor Harold Washington’s security guard holds a wreath that will be placed on his grave. Washington died on November 25, 1987 at the age of 65.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Former Mayor Harold Washington's wreath laying ceremony at Oak Woods Cemetery in South Side on Wednesday, November 23, 2022. Photo of Mayor Harold Washington at the cemetery.

A picture of Mayor Harold Washington at his grave on Wednesday.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Kristen Taylor sings “If I Can Help Somebody.”

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Bugle Across America's Tom Day played TAPS at the laying of the wreath for former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington at Oak Woods Cemetery in South Side on Wednesday, November 23, 2022. Day even played TAPS at Mayor Harold Washington's funeral.

Bugle Across America’s Tom Day performs “Tap” in honor of Harold Washington, who served in the Pacific War in World War II.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

Former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's staff and supporters hold hands at the wreath laying ceremony for former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington at Oak Woods Cemetery in Southside, Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

Mayor Harold Washington’s staff and supporters hold hands at the wreath laying ceremony. Washington was an ally of gay and lesbian activists and an advocate for Latinos, poor whites, trade unions, housing, health care, and education organizers.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times

A photo and wreath of Mayor Harold Washington adorn the former mayor's cemetery during a wreath laying ceremony at Oak Woods Cemetery in Southside on Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

A photograph and wreath of Mayor Harold Washington adorns his grave.

Anthony Vasquez/The Sun Times


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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