Suffragists Paved the Way for the First Black Female Mayor of Chicago

Michelle Duster SAVE THIS

Cook County Board President and mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle. (WBEZ, Flickr)

For the first time in its history, Chicago will have a Black female mayor. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he would not seek a third term, over a dozen people entered the race to run the third largest city in the country and the largest in the Midwest. Of the 14 candidates who made the ballot, three were Black women — Toni Preckwinkle,  Lori Lightfoot, and Amara Enyia. Preckwinkle and Lightfoot will compete in the upcoming runoff election.

These Black women represent a continuum of their predecessors who fought for suffrage and participated in political movements for the past 170 years. Excluded by white women, Black suffragists in Chicago formed their own suffrage and civic organizations. In 1913, Ida B. Wells co-founded the Alpha Suffrage Club, which aggressively canvassed door-to-door to elect Oscar De Priest as the first Black alderman…

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2 comments

  • renatehartman

    Help me out. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, or color in the past, all were machine pols. They all behaved as such as well. Dawson in the 1st ward, Byrne as mayor, and the list continues. Great hopes but all behaved as they were accustomed: political hacks.

    Which of these three women offer the best leadership to address the police, party hacks, and an administrative system that borders on evil?

  • Thank you for your interest in this topic. The focus was more on how within a 100-year period of time women have gone from not having the right to vote to now being on the brink of leading a global city. An examination of the specific policies of the candidates would require a separate article.

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