Interview with Joseph Gardner

You talked about trying to bring together the, ah, the Blacks, Hispanics. I know many Whites were involved in the campaign. Talk to me about the relationships between those various groups. Were they always harmonious?


Well, there was both inter-group tension and intra-group tension. Within the Black community there was no, the Black community has never been monolithic in, in marching to one, ah, drum beat, so to speak, in terms of politics. Ah, so there was tension within the Black community between, ah, shall we say, the professional politicians or many of the professional politicians and the, ah, so-called independents or progressives or activists, whatever handle you want to put on them. Ah, between Blacks and Hispanics there was tension, ah, in the campaign, between Blacks and, and Whites. So, there was tension among all the groups. But what united the various groupings, ah, and, and, and led to a successful campaign, was two things. One, it was the, the candidate, the personality and the style of the candidate. Harold Washington was the kind of person who was all encompassing. He reached out to everyone. He made people feel comfortable with him and around him. And secondly and equally as important, if not more important, was the fact that there was a broad based progressive agenda of concerns, issues, problems, whatever you want to call them, that united all of these various diverse groups, not around personalities so much, but, but about substantive issues in terms of how these people, individually and collectively, ah, saw the future of the city of Chicago.