Interview with Ed Gardner

What moment did you actually know that, that electing a Black mayor was doable?


Well, I think once we had it registered, that was the fire, that was the signal, but really it didn't take place until that victory day because you still had Jane Byrne pretty strong, you know, in there and Richard Daley pretty strong in there. But, but we kind of felt that once we had the numbers we had a chance of winning. And we did everything that should have been done to alert folks to vote. And we found we were getting something like 80, 90 percent turnout in various precincts we knew had a chance to win. And that night, when I walked down to the hotel where the victory party was, got out of my car and I saw Black folks parking their car all up and down the outer drive. Now, you never seen anybody park their car on the drive. When I walked to this hotel I said, ah, oh, something's going on. When I saw us lined up on both sides of the outer drive, cars parked and the police were just as courteous to us. "Good evening Mr. Gardner," as we walked in, you know. And I walked into this hotel and there was just throngs of people, you know. And they were just so excited. You could, you could hardly squeeze through, you know. But they were so happy and they were so pleased. They knew those folks were responsible for it. They didn't know Ed Garner four months before. They knew old hair cutter, but they knew Ed Gardner when I walked in that hall because of our contribution, leadership role we played in getting the folks registered to vote. And it was, I think, one of the most exciting periods in the history of the city of Chicago for any White or Black community.