The city’s first Black female alderman dies

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Anna Langford, the first Black women elected to the Chicago City Council, died Wednesday in her Englewood home after a bout with lung cancer. She was 90.

Anna Langford, the first Black women elected to the Chicago City Council, died Wednesday in her Englewood home after a bout with lung cancer. She was 90. Langford became the alderman of the 16th Ward, which includes Englewood and Gage Park, in 1971 and served only one term. She made two failed bids for re-election in 1975 and 1979. She did make a comeback to council chambers in 1983 when Harold Washington was elected as Chicago’s first Black mayor, then retired in 1991. Still very active in her senior years, Langford’s son Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department, said she was happy she to see U. S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., come so far in the presidential election. Born Oct. 27, 1917 in Springfield, Ohio, Langford came to Chicago after her parents died when she was a child.

She graduated from Hyde Park high school and Roosevelt University. She also obtained her law degree from John Marshall Law School. “Anna Langford was a voice of substance and hope.  She helped lay the foundation for a new Chicago and a new America. As a lawyer, she often defended those whose backs were against the wall and usually for no compensation.  As an elected city council person with little money, she used sheer integrity to beat back a well-financed oppressive political machine.  Anna did not just vote on deals, she was a voice for those that had no voice in city council. She was a beacon of hope that spoke truth to power fearlessly. We all owe a great debt to Anna Langford.  We must repay it by continuing to serve our community and by speaking truth to power no matter what,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson said in a statement. Langford is survived by her son and three grandchildren. There will be a private funeral. However, a public memorial is pending. ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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