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The Honorable Jerry Washington

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Information about The Honorable Jerry Washington

Profile image of The Honorable Jerry Washington

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Representative

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
London, England
Favorite Quote:
Get Up, Let’s Get Going.

Birthplace

Born:
12/23/1940
Birth Location:
Merigold, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Representative

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
London, England
Favorite Quote:
Get Up, Let’s Get Going.

Birthplace

Born:
12/23/1940
Birth Location:
Merigold
See how The Honorable Jerry Washington is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Jerry Washington was born on December 23, 1940 in Merrigold, Mississippi. He moved with his family to the Chicago area and attended Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights and Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago. Upon graduating from high school, Washington attended Wilson Junior College (now Kennedy-King College) and Northwestern University.

After marrying Ella Willoughby and starting a family, Washington was forced to hold two jobs while continuing his education. During the early 1960s, Washington became involved with the Young Republicans Organization, primarily because his father was a Republican precinct captain. He ran for elective office in 1972, but was unsuccessful. Meanwhile, he worked as a marketing group consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. In 1984, Washington was elected to represent the 24th District in the Illinois General Assembly. In that role, Washington served as a member of the House Committees on Appropriation, Election, Revenue and others. He was also a member of the 84th General Assembly Special Education Task Force. During his term in office, Washington was the recipient of several awards and commendations.

Washington was one of the few Republicans in the Legislative Black Caucus, often working with and supporting his black Democratic counterparts. For instance, his cooperative efforts with Democratic Senator Howard Brookins resulted in the expansion of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Washington’s final act in the state legislature was to work for passage of a joint House/Senate resolution that created housing for retired Illinois veterans.

Several other challenges plagued Washington during and after his tenure in office. In 1987, he suffered a brain aneurysm while driving, luckily recovering after being in a coma for two weeks. Ten years later, a brain tumor was operated on, but was found to be benign. Washington has also suffered from diabetes for most of his life.

Washington and his wife, Ella, have seven children and ten grandchildren. An outspoken advocate for educational reform, Washington has served as a consultant for 21st Century V.O.T.E. and currently serves as a member of the Englewood Local School Council.

Washington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 9, 2000.

See how The Honorable Jerry Washington is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jerry Washington's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jerry Washington lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jerry Washington talks about his parents and his children
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jerry Washington lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jerry Washington shares memories of his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jerry Washington shares some early childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jerry Washington talks about his family's farm in Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jerry Washington discusses his family's political background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jerry Washington describes his childhood personality and athletic interest
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jerry Washington describes attending elementary school and Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jerry Washington recalls his school experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jerry Washington recalls attending Wilson Junior College [now Kennedy King College] and Northwestern University
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jerry Washington discusses his wife's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Jerry Washington talks about how he became interested in politics
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jerry Washington talks about being a black Republican
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jerry Washington talks about political hacks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jerry Washington recalls learning politics through firsthand involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jerry Washington talks about how the death of J. Horace Gardner affected his political career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jerry Washington recalls working with Jim Taylor to file a writ in 1972
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jerry Washington talks about losing his objection in 1974
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jerry Washington reflects on the political lessons he learned
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jerry Washington talks about supporting Harold Washington helped his political career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jerry Washington discusses why he lost the 1978 election
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jerry Washington discusses why Cecil Partee did not deliver votes to him in 1978
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jerry Washington reflects on his accomplishments in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jerry Washington reflects upon why he lost his re-election bid
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jerry Washington recalls his near fatal accident
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jerry Washington discusses his brain tumor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jerry Washington talks about his other health problems
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jerry Washington describes his professional life outside of politics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jerry Washington talks about his service on the local school council
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jerry Washington advises young people about involvement in state government