A History of Black Women’s Radical Politics in Chicago

Keisha N. Blain SAVE THIS

(Diego G. Diaz/Shutterstock.com).

The race for Chicago’s next mayor has attracted much attention across the nation as many watch in excitement while the city elects its first Black female mayor. Regardless of who wins, the election is historic as it is the first time in Chicago’s history that a Black woman will hold this significant political office.

As writer Michelle Duster emphasizes, these women’s involvement in city politics was made possible because of the efforts of Black suffragists who paved the way, including famed Civil Rights activist Ida B. Wells. The successes of the two mayoral candidates in Chicago, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot, was also made possible because of decades of Black women’s radical politics in the city — long before the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Indeed, Chicago was a hotbed of Black radical activity during the 20th century, and Black women were at the…

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