Interview with Lu Palmer

OK, Let's go back to or forward to Harold's reluctance. There was a meeting in your basement after the plebiscite. Describe that to me.


Well, after the meeting in which, after the public meeting in which Harold started talking about, "It's not the man, it's the plan," we got greatly concerned because we thought Harold was kind of pulling out on us. And we had, by that time, begun pushing him as the candidate because he was the choice of the people. After that meeting, ah, I called a meeting, ah, a smallish, eight or ten people who had been involved in the process, ah, in my basement. And I remember we, we were eating watermelon, typical, and I told Harold, I asked, you know, I asked Harold to come to the meeting. I said, "Harold, you tell me what you told, I mean you tell these people what you told me at Bethel Church." And Harold said, "Well, I'm just not going to run and I never intended to run." And, man, the place almost went up for grabs. And we had quite a time down there with Harold Washington. One or two instances, it was almost necessary to keep, ah, keep him separated from some other people because they were going to go to blows. Well, we were able to, to, to, heh, get over that period. But I am convinced Harold did not want to be a mayor. Harold wanted to remain a congressman. But he never said that to us. He never gave us that signal that he really wanted to remain a legislator. So, he got so far out on the limb, ah, he couldn't pull back. Ah, we're glad he did not pull back because his election in 1983 was a major victory for the Black empowerment movement. And, ah, by the time of election day in this city it was dangerous to even suggest that you might not vote for Harold Washington in our community. So, it was a beautiful, beautiful period in our life. And let me tell you this. Harold's election gave hope, such as I have never seen before. Young kids, I mean 3, 4, 5 years old, school children, with the Harold button, Harold Washington buttons and saying to people, "I can be the mayor too," you see. Then they saw this man as a role model such as we.


Let's stop down.