Interview with Joseph Gardner

OK, I'd like to move forward just a little bit now. Over the coming months there was a great deal of interest then in developing the concept of having a Black mayor in Chicago. What lead to Harold Washington--It seems like there was some sort of a grand master plan. Talk to that.


Well, ah, there's some people who would claim that there was grand master plan. But I'm not aware of it and I was pretty much involved in most of the, ah, both public and private meetings and strategy sessions. Ah, the election of Harold Washington evolved out of the, ah, ah, ChicagoFest boycott and was one important high watermark, ah, after the, the successful boycott. Ah, and I remember, ah, our efforts to convince Stevie Wonder not to come. And Stevie Wonder said, I'll honor the boycott and he didn't come to the boycott and there were picket lines down there, around that site, day, day in and day out. The next step in that kind of evolution was the voter registration drive and, ah, many of us had made a decision that, ah, we were going to, ah, work very hard, very feverishly to increase the numbers of Blacks and Hispanics, ah, on the, on the registration roles because that was part of developing the predicate, the political predicate for a successful campaign. At the time we didn't who the candidate was going to be. I mean there were rumors and there was discussions about possibly Harold Washington but we didn't know. But we knew we had a movement and we that in order for that movement to have credibility and strength and power that we had to register people to vote. So that was the next step in the process. And of course, ah, the third step in the process was the actual, ah, coming together of a broad cross section of leaders, ah, who agreed to support Harold Washington as a candidate.