Interview with Jane Byrne

How did you feel when Harold Washington first announced? Did you really believe there was any serious challenge--


No. There was no serious challenge there when he first announced, and he was a reluctant candidate. And he put up as many you know, road blocks to being the candidate as he could possibly find. He liked it in Congress. And ah, he told them you go out and register, what? Fifty thousand or I, I don't know how many. And he kept giving them more and more to do. And I believe a statement that he made to the press when the press conference was called for the next morning, the statement that he made was, they asked him, "Are you going to be the candidate?" He said, "Unless you see another big Black man standing here tomorrow, I'm it." And that was sort of the way he took it, you know? And ah, I think that was however ah, somewhat disarming. Ah, and I don't think he really thought he was going to win it at all himself ah, in the very beginning. And he didn't campaign hard. He didn't do a lot of things. And that's why I tell you. Timing and, and the emotions and a three-way race. But I think um--He, he was asked by the press, "How can you possibly win?" He said, they said, "You have no money. You have no organization. You, you've got nothing going on out there." And he put his hand up, giving him full due for this, and said, "You don't understand the Black community. You can't keep them revved up any longer than two weeks." And I tell you, two weeks before--boom. It began.