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'Contributors' to Mayor Harold Washington's Legacy to be Honored

By Wendell Hutson | April 1, 2014 7:54am
 A wreath-laying ceremony was held Nov. 25 for Mayor Harold Washington at the Oak Woods Cemetery in Woodlawn, where he is buried.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held Nov. 25 for Mayor Harold Washington at the Oak Woods Cemetery in Woodlawn, where he is buried.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

BRONZEVILLE — The Harold Washington Legacy Committee will honor two individuals it said contributed to the legacy of the late Mayor Harold Washington, the city's first black mayor.

The honorees are the late Edwin "Bill" Berry, former president of the Chicago Urban League, and Rudy Lozano, who was an activist and community organizer in Chicago.

Berry was a 1983 campaign worker for Washington, and while Lozano did not work for Washington, Josie Childs, chairman of the legacy committee, said he was well liked by the late mayor for his activism on behalf of Latinos.

Lozano "fought for what he believed in and that's equality for Latinos," Childs said. "It is identical to what Washington stood for and that's fairness for blacks on every level."

The 6 p.m. event is April 29 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive. General admission tickets are $35 and can be bought online. The event will double as a fundraiser for the legacy committee, which last year used some of the proceeds to buy seven laptop computers for seven Chicago college students. Childs said this year it would not be giving away computers.

According to historian Timuel Black, when Lozano was shot to death in his home on June 8, 1983, Washington visited his widow at the home and spoke at Lozano's funeral. His son, Rudy Lozano Jr., will accept the award on his dad's behalf. Berry's widow will accept his award.

Childs said while she expected to have a celebration annually, she wasn't sure if the committee would honor someone each year.

"It depends on the person. I don't believe in picking anyone to honor. A person has to be worthy to honor and someone whose work reflects the legacy of Mayor Washington," Childs said. "I had the privilege of working with Mayor Washington, and I want to make sure his good deeds lives on."

Childs worked as a volunteer for Washington's 1983 mayoral campaign and then at City Hall as an administrator in the city's Special Events and Cultural Affairs departments from 1983 to 1990.

Washington, whose birthday is April 15, was elected mayor in 1983 after defeating incumbent Jane Byrne. He won re-election April 1987, but died in November 1987.

"I first met Harold at City Hall in 1954," Childs said. "As I look around, I do not see anything that is keeping Harold's legacy alive."