Interview with Lu Palmer

Tell me a little bit more about Harold's reluctance to be drafted for this mission of mayor of Chicago. Did he think that you were trying to shoehorn him into it?


Well, he probably did. Ah. Shortly after he said we had to get these 50,000 registered voters, we called another meeting at Bethel A.M.E. Church and it was a voter registration meeting and we formed what was called, "The People's Movement for Voter Registration." Our speaker was Harold Washington. You see we were, we were constantly pushing Harold in front on everything. Ah, at that meeting Harold made a strange speech, it was really a strange speech. And he started talking about, "It's not the man, it's the plan." And when he finished speaking, I walked over to Harold, I said, "What are you talking about?" I said, "What's this man and the plan business and when are you going to give us a, a, a kind of concrete, ah, time frame?" Because see, by now, things were picking up. Things were really picking up in terms of a Black mayor. Harold said to me on the platform of Bethel while the program was still going on, Harold said, "I, I'm not going to run." And I looked at Harold thunderstruck**. Renault Robinson was sitting on, ah, I beckoned for, I said, "Come here, Renault," I said, "Harold said, he's not going to run." So, Renault said, "We got to deal with this." Ah, and, for a couple of days we started talking among ourselves, why is Harold so reluctant? We generally felt that as a congressman, Harold was in his milieu, he is a, he was a legislator. He was a State Rep. He was a State Senator, then he was a congressman. That was his thing. Now, we were asking Harold to come out of the legislative into the executive and, ah, I am convinced that he was totally comfortable being a congressman and did not want to get into the legis- I mean to the executive branch.


We've got roll out, we're going to have to go back and get that again.