Remembering Harold Washington: Join us at Black Cinema House, February 1st, 2 PM

Harold Washington’s time in office was relatively brief, but he still continues to hold a memorable place in our political history, as the first and only elected African-American mayor of Chicago. Locals remember his thrilling potential as a reformer and the deadlock caused by the “Council Wars” as “the Eddies” (Vrdolyak and Burke) thwarted his every move in the city council. Washington died suddenly on November 25, 1987, shortly after beginning his second term in office.On February 1, South Side Projections and Black Cinema House will be screening a series of films in memory of Mayor Washington, and we’ll be there with Bill Stamets for the premiere of his new 40 minute version of Chicago Politics: A Theatre of Power (1987) that focuses on the Harold Washington campaign.
We’ll also have rare footage of Harold Washington’s appearance on the Bozo’s Circus Chicago 25th Anniversary Special (1985). We’re not allowed to make the footage available online, so this is the only way to see it!
Below is our own short edit of Stamets’ piece, presented as a trailer of sorts.
Remembering Harold WashingtonFilm Screening & Discussion

Where: Black Cinema House, 7200 S. Kimbark

When: Sunday, February 1, 2pm

How much: Free admission, RSVP to secure a seat

This screening gathers three radically different locally made films about the first black mayor of Chicago, surveying his tenure as mayor and his fight to change the way the city was governed. Running with the Mayor (Community TV Network, 1984, 12 min., DVD), created by Hispanic students of Chicago’s Community TV Network, follows Washington on the campaign trail and asks whether Washington will be a force for change for Hispanic as well as African American residents. Why Get Involved (Jean Young, 1983, 30 min., DVD), shot on election night at the party where Washington and his supporters anxiously awaited the results, is a star-studded who’s-who of African American celebrities and power brokers, including Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson, and Ben Vereen; the film asks these and other supporters why regular Chicagoans should get involved in Washington’s crusade. Finally, a lengthy excerpt from Chicago Politics: A Theatre of Power (Bill Stamets, 1987, 40 min. excerpt of 90 min. film) examines the two elections that Washington won, capturing Washington’s unforgettable way with words, the racism with which many whites greeted his campaigns and victories, and Washington’s efforts to transform Chicago.

In conversation: Javier Vargas, who worked on Running with the Mayor as a student; Bill Stamets, the director of Chicago Politics: A Theatre of Power; and others to be determined.

More info at Black Cinema House.



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