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The Anacostia Community Museum’s indoor gallery will be closed March 2 through May 18 as we bring our next exhibition to life. Even though our gallery is closed, join us at any of the dynamic upcoming events planned during this time. More information about our events is available at: We look forward to seeing you soon!

Pinback Button, Harold Washington Mayoral Campaign

Object Details

metal, plastic, paper
1/4 × 2 5/16 in. (0.7 × 5.8 cm)
Cite As
Ethel Lois Payne Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Avis R. Johnson.
This pinback button commemorates Harold Washington’s inauguration as the first African American mayor of Chicago on April 29, 1983. Hailing from the city’s predominantly African American South Side, Washington won the Democratic primary in October 1982 and made history when he was elected mayor six months later. The gold-and-black button belonged to journalist Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), a Chicago native moved to Washington, DC in 1952 to cover national and international news for the preeminent African American newspaper, The Chicago Defender. She followed Washington’s mayoral campaign closely and attended his inauguration ceremony at the Navy Pier Auditorium, remarking that “it was quite an emotional experience, something I never dreamed of seeing in my lifetime.” The lifelong civil rights activist reported from thirty countries over the course of her own pioneering career, becoming known as the First Lady of the Black Press.
Accession Number
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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Anacostia Community Museum
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