Harold Washington Legacy Committee Will Give Away Laptops to Students

By Wendell Hutson on January 20, 2014 6:50am 

 Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor, was a staunch advocate of education. A panel honoring his legacy will give away laptops Tuesday to Chicago college students at the Downtown library named for him.
Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor, was a staunch advocate of education. A panel honoring his legacy will give away laptops Tuesday to Chicago college students at the Downtown library named for him.
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Antonio Dickey Photography

DOWNTOWN — The Harold Washington Legacy Committee will present eight Chicago college students with free laptops Tuesday as a way of honoring of the late Mayor Harold Washington.

The first-time event is set for 1 p.m. in the Harold Washington Exhibit room at the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St. Each student will receive a Gateway LT Series laptop preloaded with software.

The students set to receive laptops are Shelinda Burr, Kennedy-King College; Amanda Walker-Hall, Olive-Harvey College; Vincent Ramilo, Harold Washington College; Tewner Hall, Malcolm X College; Jonathan Marshall, Truman College; Marco Palma, Daley College; and Lareal Lowrey, Chicago State University. An eighth student at Wright College has not yet been chosen, said Karen Gunn, education committee chairman for the Harold Washington Legacy Committee.

"Each student chosen had to submit a 500-word essay about Mayor Washington, and from that essay we selected the winners," Gunn said. "We hope to continue this tradition of awarding laptops to deserving students every year, but that depends on how well fundraising goes."

The library was chosen for the event over the Harold Washington Cultural Center in Bronzeville because of Washington's passion for reading, said Josie Childs, president of the committee.

“We offer this computer presentation in the Mayor Harold Washington Library Center to honor the contributions of our late mayor, who was a passionate knowledge seeker, avid reader and staunch advocate of education,” Childs said.

Denise Bransford, a committee member and assistant vice president for planned giving at Roosevelt University, Washington's alma mater, agreed that the city's first black mayor believed in education and loved to read books.

"The library is where Mayor Washington sharpened his political acumen to win student victories and to champion city issues, like the dismantling of Chicago's restrictive covenants that blocked integration of some of Chicago's great neighborhoods," Bransford said.

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