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Harold Washington documentary ‘Punch 9’ is an epic tale of Black achievement

The award-winning ‘Punch 9’ documentary is a study in political progress
Harold Washington documentary 'Punch 9' is an epic tale of Black achievement
Dr. Conrad Worrill, Mayor Harold Washington, and Lu Palmer (Photo Source: Worrill Family Archives)

Chicago’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington, not only changed the dynamics of the political machine in the city, his administration significantly impacted the international perception of the city and colored the lens of the plight of Black residents living in the Second City. At the time of his election, becoming the first Black mayor of Chicago – a city infamous for its political bosses and racial history – was something akin Nelson Mandela becoming the president of South Arica.

The brutal Chicago political machine had been so oppressive to the black population under the Mayor Daily’s rule that much of the black success in business was absent or at least overshadowed by the city power brokers and elected officials.  Police brutality and poverty were systemic pariahs of black progress and success prior to Washington, whose elevation to the city’s highest office brought hope that there were new possibilities for black Chicagoans to realize and that the power was in their hands at the ballot box.

Punch Nine became the slogan that revolutionized how black politicians around the United States and the world came to believe and have faith that they too could liberate that ghetto and eradicate mistreatment through an integrated City Hall, which would become a political model for cities across the country. Harold Washington ignited a fire that gave rise to a young senator, Barack Obama, who would ultimately become the first Black president of the United States. He proved that collectively we can change our circumstances.

“Punch 9” is the award-winning documentary heralding Washington’s accomplishments and demonstration of the power of the Black collective that resulted in a movement that changed the course of history in Chicago and other major cities. This film is a must-see for the scores of Black citizens who have become disillusioned with current events and need a renewal of faith and courage and the power of the civil rights and related Black social and economic movements.

For all who have the courage and are inclined to see “Punch 9,” you will be inspired to stand your ground and take your rightful place in the city, the nation, and the world by deepening your understanding of your legacy and awareness of historical mutations of the Black record and breaking the political practice of distorting the Black narrative.

Harold Washington embodied the commitment to Black progress that is missing at this particular moment based on the lack of collective thought and embracing the process of extending Black progress to every one of us; not just the elite, not just the educated, but for every member of the Black community including the allies who are too often overlooked, including other persons of color and the LGBTQ communities.

“Punch 9” will change young people’s perspectives of how and why they should be involved in voting and supporting and organizing in this political process. We are all capable of making a significant change if we truly believe and come together. Harold Washington was able to bring to fruition an impossible dream and create a magnificent reality in Chicago. We must educate and re-educate ourselves, restore our faith and commit to each other as Black people.

Harold Washington’s life is a study of Black intellectual power and its applications in political and economic progress. This documentary is an important experience for those who believe we deserve better from our cities and country.



Munson Steed
CEO, Rollingout

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