Richard Daley

Richard Daley

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Chicago’s Richard Daley (1902-1976) was among the most famous big-city mayors of 20th century America. He earned election to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1936, and served as Democratic minority leader in the state senate from 1941 through 1946. Moving into Chicago politics, Daley took over as chair of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee in 1953. Elected Chicago mayor for the first of six terms in 1955, he cultivated alliances with organized labor and industry, but drew criticism for the violence that erupted at the 1968 Democratic convention. Holding office until he died from a heart attack, Daley was succeeded by his son as mayor in 1989.

The grandson of Irish immigrants, Daley was the nation’s dominant big-city mayor in the second half of the twentieth century and a major force in the national Democratic party. Launching his political career in 1936, Daley was elected to the IllinoisHouse of Representatives and then advanced to the state senate in 1938, where he served as Democratic minority leader from 1941 through 1946. He was also the deputy controller of Cook County from 1936 through 1949 and was named Illinois state revenue director in 1949. In these positions, Daley gained a keen understanding of government and a mastery of budgets and revenue sources.

Daley moved into the Chicago Democratic machine’s hierarchy in 1947 with his election as ward committeeman of the Southwest Side’s Eleventh Ward. Working behind the scenes, he engineered the ouster of Col. Jacob M. Arvey as Democratic chairman following Republican victories in the 1950 elections. In 1953, Daley took over the chairmanship of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee, which he forged into the strongest political organization in the country. As party chairman, Daley challenged and defeated Mayor Martin Kennelly in the 1955 Democratic primary and then won the first of six mayoral terms in the general election.

For twenty-one years, Daley presided over city government and the Democratic organization in his dual role as mayor and party chairman. He cultivated alliances with organized labor and industry that contributed to Chicago’s renaissance at a time when other northern industrial cities were declining. He helped build the world’s largest airport and tallest office building, a lakefront convention center, a governmental complex that would later bear his name, a Chicago campus for the state university, expressways, and mass transit lines.

Daley was among John F. Kennedy’s key supporters in the 1960 presidential election, providing him with the delegates who helped him win a first-ballot nomination and a massive Chicago vote that delivered Illinois for Kennedy in his narrow victory over Richard M. Nixon. Daley hosted the 1968 Democratic National Convention at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s request. Daley’s national reputation was seriously tarnished as the result of violence between anti-Vietnam War demonstrators and Chicago police. Ironically, Daley had been a private critic of the Vietnam War and had urged Johnson to withdraw U.S. forces. In 1972, Daley was dealt another blow when the Democratic National Convention refused to seat his Illinois delegation because of noncompliance with new selection rules. In 1976, Jimmy Carter said that Daley’s endorsement clinched his first-ballot nomination for the presidency, but Daley failed to deliver Illinois for Carter in the election.

Blacks were a major component of the Daley coalition, providing him with his winning margin in his two closest mayoral elections. But his relationship with them deteriorated in the turbulent hours after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination when Daley issued a shoot-to-kill order in the wake of riots and looting on the city’s West Side. He later resented the challenge to his authority as party chairman by black Democratic politicians.

A series of court rulings against political patronage diminished Daley’s clout in his final term, and his political organization declined further in the decade after his death. Richard M. Daley, his eldest son, was elected mayor of Chicago in April 1989.

The Richard M. Daley Oral History Collection

The University of Illinois at Chicago Library has completed a two-year oral history project bout the life and career of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The collection contains forty-five interviews with contemporaries of Daley. The interviewees include most of the mayor’s chiefs of staff, some of his deputy chiefs of staff, a number of his political advisors, and persons who headed city agencies during his tenure. Also included are family members, community leaders, some critics, and former United States Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Peter Cunningham, a friend of and former speechwriter for Mayor Daley, conducted the interviews.

The video and audio interviews, with related transcripts, can be found online at Richard M. Daley Oral Histories.

UIC Library also holds the Mayor Richard J. Daley Oral History collection. PDF transcripts from that collection can also be found online at Remembering Richard J. Daley Oral History Contributors.


Zodiac Sign: Richard M. Daley is a Taurus. People of this zodiac sign like cooking, romance, working with hands and dislike sudden changes, complications, and insecurity. The strengths of this sign are being reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable, while weaknesses can be stubborn, possessive and uncompromising. The greatest overall compatibility with Taurus is Scorpio and Cancer.

Chinese Zodiac: Richard M. Daley was born in the Year of the Ox. People born under this sign are seen as warm-hearted and easygoing. Independence is one of their greatest strengths, but sometimes they're overly frank with others.

Ruling Planet: Richard M. Daley has a ruling planet of Venus and has a ruling planet of Venus and by astrological associations Friday is ruled by Venus. Venus is the planet of love, harmony, money and possessions. Venus is graceful, charming, sensual and social. People who are born with Mars as the ruling planet have beauty, charm and sensuality.

Da Boss of Chicago Politics

Mayor Daley’s brash, hard-knuckle, and socially-resentful style of Chicago politics have run this town for decades. Image via Wikimedia.

No name is so central to modern Chicago politics as Daley. Richard J. Daley, da Boss, served as the autocratic mayor from 1955 until his death in 1976. Richard M. Daley, his eldest son, served as mayor from 1989 until he retied in 2011. Bill Daley, his youngest son, is running for mayor this month. The Daleys are not charming. They’re not telegenic. They’re not even very popular half the time. Despite these shortcomings, they may be one of the most politically powerful clans this side of the Kennedys or Bushes. The authors of a biography of Daley I chose the title American Pharaoh for a reason.

The first Mayor Daley rose through the ranks of the Cook County Democratic Machine over the first half of the twentieth century. As a teen he joined The Hamburg Club, an “athletic club” which participated in the bloody 1919 race riot. Those club connections led to his eventual slating as a political candidate. Daley eventually boosted himself atop the Machine that Cermak created and rode it to the zenith of power.

Da Bosses themselves have always been scrupulously clean, with nary an accusation of corruption in over 60 years of notoriety. Anyone who has read Mike Royko’s Boss or the Politics pages of the Chicago Reader can tell you that Chicago’s Machine is rarely as conscientious as the men on top of it. The city’s endemic problems with racial segregation, disinvestment, civic corruption and police violence are the end result of the Machine and the patronage that fueled it.

The unfinished business of Richard M. Daley

First Son

On March 16, 2011, just two months before he left office, Mayor Richard M. Daley held a press conference in a vacant lot at 76th and Ashland. The event ended up illustrating many of the complexities and contradictions of his 22 years in power, the longest tenure of any Chicago mayor. The lot, which took up most of a city block, had once been home to industrial warehouses and small manufacturers, but the businesses had left and the empty buildings were razed. Like other parts of the south side, the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood had suffered for decades from high unemployment and crime.

But Daley was there with good news. Standing near a display of shiny red apples and green and orange bell peppers, the mayor announced that Walmart would open two new stores in the city by 2012, one of them at that very spot. He promised that the stores would sell fresh produce and bring thousands of jobs.

The announcement was met with applause from a group of neighborhood block club leaders who'd been urged to attend by 17th Ward alderman Latasha Thomas, a Daley loyalist. The timing of the event wasn't a coincidence, as Thomas was fighting to keep her seat in a runoff election.

Daley was in a combative mood himself. He reminded everyone that he had been fighting for six years with unions and other critics of Walmart. While they had pushed the company to pay workers a "living wage," Daley depicted them as opponents of economic development and civil rights.

"Why was it, during this whole debate, all right to build in the suburban areas, but there was an objection to build in the city when it came to the African-American community, Hispanic community, or the inner city?

"Walmart is a good corporation, not a perfect corporation," Daley continued. "No one's perfect here anyway in life. And that's why we have the pastors, and that's why we pray."

It was the latest example of how, even in his last days on the job, the mayor was deeply passionate about the future of the city, but dismissive&mdasheven vindictive&mdashtoward anyone who raised questions about his policies. Daley had deep networks of support in Chicago's neighborhoods, including the black areas where he'd started with little, though some of that was because he had stamped out the opposition.

And ultimately he had no better answer than anyone else for the rust belt problems weighing down the segregated south and west sides. New jobs of any kind were welcome, but Walmart could not replace the well-paid manufacturing and steel mill work that once existed where its stores were being built. Daley could only pretend otherwise.

For a full generation, like his father before him, Richard M. Daley was Chicago. His reign has long inspired debate: In order to improve the city's international standing and stop the flight of the middle class, was he right to focus on rebuilding downtown? Or did that amount to pulling the plug on the city's poor and working-class neighborhoods, leaving behind a bill that's yet to be paid?

The answer is arguably both. Yet a new biography of Daley portrays him as the figure who made Chicago a center of international commerce and culture, but largely bypasses the communities and people he ruled over with unchecked power.

"His legacy would not only include finishing the unfinished business of the Daley family&mdashimproving race relations, public schools, and public housing&mdashbut also the transformation of Chicago into a global city," Keith Koeneman writes in First Son.

Koeneman is a first-time author who writes about politics for the Huffington Post. He deserves credit for making the first attempt to chronicle Daley's career and its lasting meaning, and First Son is a well-researched and readable work. But Koeneman's assessment is flawed.

This is initially evident in his analysis of the period that led to Daley's election as mayor. Daley was the Cook County state's attorney when he decided to get into the 1983 mayor's race against incumbent Jane Byrne and Congressman Harold Washington. The racial dynamics of the time have been well documented: after decades of segregation and neglect, black voters rallied behind Washington's promise to fight discrimination while Byrne and Daley split the white vote.

But Koeneman has a new take, arguing that while Byrne and Washington played off racial animosities to rally supporters, Daley remained above the fray.

Once Washington was elected, white aldermen revolted, refusing to advance any of the new mayor's initiatives&mdashsomething that hadn't happened under a white mayor for decades before and hasn't happened anytime since. Yet Koeneman maintains that Council Wars were simply the result of Washington's failures as an administrator and a politician. "He did not understand&mdashor, perhaps, did not care&mdashhow power worked in white Chicago," Koeneman writes.

This is what can politely be called revisionist history, especially when Koeneman bolsters his argument with a quote from one of the chief obstructionists, Alderman Ed Burke, who now claims that the divisions had nothing to do with race at all, but Washington's unwillingness to compromise. Koeneman doesn't cite a single African-American source.

The account of Council Wars only takes up a few pages in First Son, but it's important because Koeneman uses it to set up his portrayal of Daley as city savior. Washington died of a heart attack in 1987, and two years later, with the black community divided between two candidates, Daley won the special election to replace him.

Daley surrounded himself with a diverse group of advisers, including the brilliant young media strategist David Axelrod, and went at his dream job with tremendous energy and confidence. But the first scandal hit within months: it was discovered that a lucrative towing contract had been handed to some of Daley's friends. Such deals "left a portion of the voting public with the impression that Daley favored his buddies and allowed corruption in Chicago," Koeneman writes&mdasha more than forgiving way to describe an administration whose contracting and hiring misdeeds culminated with dozens of federal convictions in the 2000s.

More significantly, Daley worked to consolidate his power in his first years in office. First Son notes that by the time he was elected mayor, Daley had little interest in working with the old Democratic patronage machine his father had run so effectively. Court rulings and infighting had sapped the machine of strength, and Daley didn't trust many of the old party warriors who'd sided with Byrne.

So he and his aides set up their own political armies. As Koeneman details, they employed roving bands of city workers and for-hire mercenaries in white neighborhoods, and in the growing Latino areas they unleashed the Hispanic Democratic Organization, which quickly became a potent patronage operation known for taking out independents who didn't have jobs to trade for political support.

What Koeneman omits is perhaps Daley's most significant and controversial political triumph: how he won over&mdashand neutralized&mdashopposition in Chicago's black neighborhoods. When he first came into office, Daley reached out to key black ministers and let them know that they could come straight to City Hall if they needed anything. It was a gesture of reconciliation&mdashand a brilliant way to undercut independent black aldermen. Eventually most aldermen got the message, and those who came aboard found that their wards received better city services as well as campaign workers at election time.

After Daley annihilated Congressman Bobby Rush in the 1999 mayoral election, there were no serious challengers left. Locking up the black vote made Daley invincible, and he knew it.

None of this is to say that Daley was only a political animal. Through a combination of good leadership and good luck, he oversaw a period of reinvestment and new confidence in Chicago. Koeneman hits on all of his major policy initiatives, each of which could be worth a book itself: taking control of the school system, with mixed results dismantling public housing, and with it dangerous clusters of poverty, but with inadequate planning for what would happen to residents afterward selling the parking meters, the cost of which we're still trying to figure out and the construction of Millennium Park, which Koeneman views as the most visible symbol of Daley's success at turning Chicago into a global city.

By 2005, even some of Daley's longstanding allies were weary of his domineering style. When Walmart moved to open its second store in the city, the "living wage" battle broke out. It was the most high-minded and bruising of the Daley era. On each side were multiracial coalitions of aldermen, unions, community leaders, and clergy who maintained that the city's economic future was at stake. The fight culminated with council passage of a "living wage" ordinance in 2006, followed by Daley's veto of it&mdashthe first and only veto of his career.

Other cities have debated the impact of big-box stores on wages and independent businesses&mdashNew York City still won't let Walmart open there. Yet Koeneman dismisses what happened in Chicago as a "parochial" dispute: "Global businesses like Walmart needed to pay low wages in order to stay competitive, but labor unions still acted as if the US economy was shut off from the rest of the world."

Koeneman forgets that much of Chicago remains shut off from the global economy&mdashand out of the public eye altogether, except when hit with another explosion of violence. This too is part of the legacy of the Daley era, even if much of it is due to forces beyond any mayor's control.

Daley, of course, won reelection to one last term in 2007, and Walmart has since opened new stores in the Gold Coast, Lakeview, Chatham, and the southwest side. The lot at 76th and Ashland remains vacant, though the company says it's hoping to open a store there next year. Meanwhile, Daley's successor, Rahm Emanuel, is planning to close six schools in the surrounding neighborhood by that time.

Read biographies and interview transcripts.

About this site

Each of the above images introduces you to the themes of the Remembering Richard J. Daley exhibit. The exhibit uses photographs, excerpts from oral history interviews, and video and audio clips about Richard J. Daley, one of the most powerful politicians in United States history. Daley was mayor of Chicago during a time when the city was challenged and energized by racial inequalities, job and population losses, decaying infrastructure, and financial decline. In Remembering Richard J. Daley, the mayor’s colleagues, friends, and family recall and evaluate these exciting and turbulent years. They offer their unique insight into Daley’s administration of the city from 1955 to 1976 and his role as head of the Cook County Democratic Party from 1953 to 1976.

Oral History Contributors

Click on the interview transcript listed under each person to read his or her transcript.

Abboud, Robert (b. 1929 — ). Served as the president and chief operating officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, independent co-chairman of Ivanhoe Energy Inc., chairman of First Chicago Corporation and The First National Bank of Chicago, chairman of First City Bank Corporation of Texas, and chairman of ACB International, Ltd.

Adduci, Alexander A. (b. 1930 — ). Alderman, Chicago’s Ninth Ward (1971 – 1979).

Bedore, Ed (b. 1932 — ). Grew up in Bridgeport and graduated from De La Salle High School and DePaul University. Served as City Budget Director (1970-76) and was one of Richard J. Daley’s trusted cabinet members.

Berman, Arthur (b. 1935 — ). Precinct captain in Edgewater in 1955. Elected to state legislature in 1969, and then to the Illinois state senate in 1977, where he worked for education reform.

Bonoma, Roseanne (b. 1938 — ). Secretary for the Cook County Democratic Party and neighbor of Richard J. Daley.

Burke, Ed (b. 1943 — ). Democratic committeeman and alderman for Chicago’s Fourteenth Ward (1969 – present). First elected in 1969.

Butler, Jerome (b. 1928 — ). Served as architect for the city of Chicago from 1966 to 1979, during which time he oversaw the award-winning Navy Pier restoration. He later served as Chicago’s Commissioner of Public Works (1979-1985) and Commissioner of Aviation (1985 – 1987).

Carter, Jimmy (b. 1924 — ). Governor of Georgia (1971 – 1975) and president of the United States (1977 – 1981).

Christensen, Robert W. (b. 1932 — ). Executive director, Public Building Commission (1961 – 1974). Studied engineering at Northwestern University (BS 1955, MS 1956) under Frederick T. Aschman.

Compton, James (b. 1939 — ). Civic leader and civil rights activist. Worked in the Chicago Public School system and later served as president of the Chicago Urban League (1978 – 2006).

Crown, Lester (b. 1925 — ). President of Henry Crown & Company and director of the Continental Illinois Bank, Transworld Airlines, and Esmark. Friend of former Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson II.

Curry, Richard L. (b. 1929 — ). Served as law clerk for Daley & Lynch. He later served as assistant corporation counsel for the city of Chicago and then as corporation counsel (1970 – 1974). Elected circuit court judge in 1974.

Daley, Eleanor “Sis” (b. 1907 – d. 2003). Wife of Richard J. Daley.

Daley, John (b. 1946 — ). Son of Richard J. Daley, John Daley now serves as the Eleventh Ward Democratic Committeeman and serves on the Cook County Board of Commissioners (1992 – present).

Daley, Michael (b. 1943 — ). Son of Richard J. Daley and partner at Daley & Georges law firm since 1970. He has never sought or held elected public office.

Daley, Richard M. (b. 1942 — ). Eldest son of Richard J. Daley. He served as Eleventh Ward Democratic Committeeman (1976 – 1980), Illinois state senator (1972 – 1980), the State’s Attorney for Cook County (1981 – 1989), and mayor of Chicago (1989 – 2011).

Daley, William “Bill” (b. 1948 — ). Youngest son of Richard J. Daley. Served as Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton (1997 – 2000), as campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000, and as chief of staff for President Barack Obama (2011 – 2012).

Daley-Martino, Patricia (b. 1937 — ). Eldest daughter of Richard J. Daley.

Donovan, Tom (b. 1938 — ). Hired as an administrative assistant to Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1969, under which position he was responsible for patronage. He later served as president of the Chicago Board of Trade (1982 – 2000).

Dunne, George (b. 1913 – d. 2006). President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners (1969 – 1991).

Durbin, Sen. Richard J. (b. 1944 — ). Served as legal counsel for Lieutenant Governor Paul Simon (1969 – 1972) and then for the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee (1972 – 1982). He later represented Illinois in the United States Congress (1983 – 1996) and Senate (1997 – present).

Elrod, Richard (b. 1934 – d. 2014). Assistant corporation counsel for city of Chicago (1958 – 1965), Chicago’s chief prosecutor (1967 – 1969), Illinois state legislator (1969 – 1970), and Cook County sheriff (1970 – 1986). In October 1969, he was partially paralyzed after trying to apprehend a suspect during the “Days of Rage” protest in Chicago.

Fitzgerald, Joseph (b. 1928 — ). Chicago Building Commissioner (1969 – 1979).

Frost, Wilson (b. 1925 — ). Served as alderman for Chicago’s Thirty-fourth Ward (1967 – 1987).

Gavin, Vince (b. ? — ). Headed Mayor Richard J. Daley’s security detail (1967 – 1975), and later served on the Chicago Liquor Commission (1975 – 1979).

Graham, Gilbert (b. 1921 – d. 2008). Roman Catholic priest, lifelong friend, and unofficial chaplain to the Daley family. He delivered the eulogy at Richard J. Daley’s funeral.

Hartigan, Neil (b. 1938 — ). Worked for the city of Chicago as legislative counsel, as a member of the Board of Health, as a member of the Chicago Park District, and as liquor commissioner. He later served as Illinois’s lieutenant governor of Illinois (1973 – 1977) and attorney general in (1983 – 1991).

Heineman, Ben W. (b. 1914 – 2012). Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad who was a friend to Richard J. Daley. Heineman also served the public in several capacities. Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson named Heineman special assistant attorney general for Illinois to investigate cigarette tax fraud in 1951. Heineman headed the Illinois Board of Higher Education (1962-1969), and in 1966 he chaired Mayor Daley’s Chicago Civil Rights Summit Conference on Fair Housing. He also served on several commissions for President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Hynes, Thomas (b. 1932 — ). Served in the Illinois State Senate (1971 – 1979) and was president of that body for the last two years of his tenure.

Kelly, Ed (b. 1924 — ). Worked for thirty-eight years at the Chicago Park District, eventually becoming its superintendent. As Forty-seventh Ward Committeeman (1968 – 1975), he befriended Richard J. Daley, managed his final campaign, and was with the mayor the day he died.

Kondor, László. (b. 1940 — ). Mayor Richard J. Daley’s official photographer (1972 – 1976).

Madigan, Michael (b. 1942 — ). Member of the Illinois House of Representatives (1971 – present). He has served as speaker of that body (1983 – 1995, 1997 – present ).

McDonough, James (b. 1933 — ). Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (1968 – 1974) and later chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority (1976 – 1980).

Minow, Newton (b. 1926 — ). Worked for the presidential campaigns of Adlai Stevenson II (1952, 1956) and John F. Kennedy (1960). Served as chair of Federal Communications Commission (1961 – 1963).

Natarus, Burton (b. 1933 — ). Alderman from the Forty-second Ward (1971 – 2007).

Nolan, Gene (b. ? — ). A police officer who served on Richard J. Daley’s security detail.

O’Connor, Jim (b. ? — ). Attorney who worked for Commonwealth Edison Company (1963 – 1998), eventually serving as its president and later as its chief executive officer.

Parker, Jack (b. ? — ). Longtime friend and neighbor of Richard J. Daley.

Pavia, Richard (b. 1930 – d. 2010). Became assistant commissioner in Chicago’s department of water and sewers in 1966. He later served as the city’s water commissioner (1973-1979).

Pounian, Charles A. (b. ? — ). Director of Personnel for the city of Chicago (1960 – 1985).

Quinlan, Catherine “Kay” (b.? — ). Richard J. Daley’s personal secretary (1967 – 1976).

Reilly, Frank (b. 1921 – d. 2015). Associate at the law firm of Daley & Lynch, of which Richard J. Daley was a partner.

Riley, James (b. 1937 — ). Businessman who assisted Richard J. Daley in his 1967, 1971, and 1975 runs for mayor.

Rostenkowski, Dan (b. 1928 – d. 2010). Chicago Democratic ward committeeman and congressman (1959 – 1995).

Sain, Ken (b.? — ). Administrative assistant to Richard J. Daley (1968 – 1972) and deputy mayor of Chicago (1972 – 1976).

Seith, Alex (b. 1934 – d. 2010). Democratic activist and politician. He served as chairman of the Young Democrats of Cook County (1965 – 1966) and served on numerous boards. In 1978 and 1984, he unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate.

Simon, Ray (b. 1932 — ). Simon served as corporation counsel for the city of Chicago (1965 – 1969).

Stevenson III, Adlai E. (b. 1930 — ). A Democratic politician from Illinois, Stevenson served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives (1965 – 1967), as Illinois Treasurer (1967 – 1970), and as a member of the United States Senate (1970 – 1981).

Stone, Bernard (b. 1927 – d. 2014). Alderman for Chicago’s Fiftieth Ward (1973 – 2011).

Suloway, Marshall (b. 1921 – d. 2014). Civil engineer who worked in the Illinois Highway Department (1950 – 1964). From 1964 on, he served the city of Chicago under Richard J. Daley as Chief Subway and Highway Engineer, Chief Engineer, and Commissioner for Public Works.

Thompson, Courtney (b. 1967 — ). Granddaughter of Richard J. Daley.

Thompson, Patrick (b. 1969 — ). Grandson of Richard J. Daley. He won election to the position of alderman for Chicago’s Eleventh Ward in 2015.

Thompson, Peter (b. 1968 — ). Grandson of Richard J. Daley.

Vanecko, Mark G. (b. 1966 — ). Grandson of Richard J. Daley.

Vanecko, Mary Carol (b. 1938 — ). Daughter of Richard J. Daley.

Vanecko, Robert G. (b. 1965 — ). Grandson of Richard J. Daley.

Vanecko, Robert M. (b. 1935 — ). Husband of Mary Carol Vanecko and son-in-law to Richard J. Daley.

Weithers, John (b. 1933 – d. 2013). Assisted in Richard J. Daley’s 1967 campaign for mayor and for a time served on Chicago’s Public Building Commission. He worked as an executive for the Midwest Stock Exchange.

Young, Andrew (b. 1932 — ). Civil rights activist who worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his visit to Chicago in 1966. He later served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations (1977 – 1979) and Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia (1981 – 1989).


Without a doubt, Richard M. Daley’s years in office as mayor of Chicago marked the longest uninterrupted period of gay-inclusive policies in Chicago’s municipal history. Though other recent mayors have made their own welcome contributions toward integrating LGBT Chicagoans into civic life on the basis of equality, Daley’s long record is unparalleled.

Following his election in 1989, Daley became one of the Chicago LGBT communities’ most important friends. His support for those communities was vocal, and his administration provided initiatives, programs, and resources that strengthened them, making them central to the life of the city. Through his leadership, Daley also encouraged corporate America to support LGBT events and community efforts.

The Daley administration saw a large number of advances toward LGBT equality. Daley personally voiced support for the goal of same-sex civil marriage and opposed attempts to pass discriminatory marriage amendments to the federal and state constitutions. Under his administration, the city established the Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues and sponsored the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, which is the first and only municipal project of its kind anywhere. It also sponsors the nation’s only government-backed annual salute to LGBT veterans of the Armed Services, including a wreath-laying in the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza, which was particularly significant in time of war and in the face of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the time.

Daley’s administration supported significant expansion of Chicago human rights legislation to include protection for gender identity, which included transgender persons. Domestic partnership benefits, including insurance, bereavement, and some retirement benefits, were instituted for city employees in same-sex relationships.

Daley appointed Ald. Thomas Tunney as the first openly gay member of the Chicago City Council and stood firm in backing the gay-friendly North Halsted streetscape project. Under Daley, the city budget aided the Center on Halsted with some $3 million in building value write-down and cash assistance established the Office of LGBT Health in the city Department of Public Health supported Horizons Youth Services programs and funded hate crimes initiatives in the streets, teacher-training materials on LGBT student-safety issues, a community forum on LGBT homeless youth, the annual Chicago Collegiate Pride Fest, and a 2004 budget amendment for an increase of $600,000 in HIV prevention services. The Public Health Department rapidly confronted a 2003 meningitis outbreak among gay men in a national model for community emergency response.

In 2006, Daley was honorary co-chair of Gay Games VII, and his office coordinated city services for the event. For years of sincere mayoral support, he has been formally elected a “Friend of the Community.” (Please note: this information has not been updated since the time of the member’s induction.)

Watch the video: Mayor Daley Montage - His Greatest Hits