A lively panel discussion titled Breaking New Ground: Harold Washington and the 1983 Election, is featured as the Chicago Public Library’s 2013 Harold Washington Birthday Celebration. Join Professor Timuel D. Black, Jr., author, historian and civil rights activist; Helen Shiller, former 46th Ward Alderman and community activist; and Professor Dick Simpson, Political Science Department at the University of Illinois Chicago, for a discussion on Harold Washington’s historic mayoral victory. The free event takes place on Monday, April 15 at 6 p.m. in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium at the Harold Washington Library Center , 400 S. State St. Moderating the event is Laura S. Washington, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and ABC-7 Chicago’s political analyst.

On April 12, 1983, Harold Washington was elected Mayor of Chicago, the first African American to hold this office. Professor Timuel D. Black, Jr. was a key figure in the voter registration campaign in 1982 that signed-up more than 200,000 voters. Helen Shiller represented the 46th Ward from 1987 to 2011, and she is the longest-serving female alderman in Chicago . Her aldermanic election at the start of Mayor Washington ‘s second term helped close the “Council Wars” era in Chicago government. Professor Dick Simpson has combined a distinguished academic career with public service in government. The author of several books, he was Alderman for the 44th Ward between 1971 and 1979 and he served on Harold Washington’s Transition Team. Laura S. Washington has more than two decades of experience as a multi-media journalist, specializing in African American affairs, local and national politics, race and social justice. In 1985, she was appointed deputy press secretary to Mayor Harold Washington.

The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 79 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. For more information, visit chicagopubliclibrary.org, or call (312) 747-4050.