Former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer Dies

Sun. January 20, 2008 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

former chicago mayor eugene sawyer

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Chicago's second African-American mayor was friend to Chicago's LGBT community

Chicago, IL - Former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer has died, following a long illness at the age of 73.

Sawyer was born in Greensboro, Alabama, on September 9, 1934. He was elected alderman of the 6th ward on the south side in 1971, and continued to serve in that position for 17 years.

In 1987, following the sudden death of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, the City Council elected Sawyer to be the successor to the city's first African-American mayor. He served as Chicago Mayor for two years and was the last mayor to serve before Richard M. Daley.

During his brief tenure in office, Sawyer passed several pieces of legislation including the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, seen as an important moment in Chicago's gay and lesbian rights movement.

Sawyer's passing is less than two days after Cook County lost its first African-American county board president, John H. Stroger Sr.

Sawyer died at 11 p.m. Saturday at Hinsdale Hospital.