Our History

The Harold Washington Party (HWP) was founded in Chicago in the late 1980s to represent the interest of the city’s African American population who felt disenchanted with the mainline Democratic Party. The Party was named for Chicago’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington, who died before the Party was created. It nominated candidates for mayor and several other offices in Cook County, with mayoral nominee Timothy C. Evans receiving 41% of the vote in 1989. In 1990, Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Eugene Wachowski, an organization Democrat, ordered the HWP ticket off the November countywide ballot, claiming the HWP had failed to meet some of the requirements of the election code. However, the HWP would not be deterred. In 1995 and 1996, respectively, the HWP ran a full slate of candidates in the election for Mayor of the City of Chicago and a full slate of candidates in the election for Cook County States Attorney. Shortly thereafter, the Democratic party in Springfield altered the election laws to prevent the HWP from getting on the ballot again, especially in Chicago. ┬áThe law was changed to make the Mayor’s and Alderman’s races nonpartisan and required 25,000 signatures to get on the ballot for Mayor.