Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rep. Rush Mourns the Loss of Alderman William Barnett

Mar 6, 2003
Press Release

Chicago, IL ---- U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st) was deeply saddened by the recent passing of Alderman William Barnett, former alderman of Chicago's Second Ward.

Rep. Rush has expressed his deepest regrets and condolences to Mrs. Esther Barnett, wife of the Alderman, and the Barnett family.

The following is Rep. Rush's statement:

Alderman Barnett was one of a kind. Early in my political career, we were adversaries but, we always had a great deal of respect for each other and over the years, we became friends. He was absolutely committed to politics as a passion in his life. He loved political gamesmanship and he defined, embraced, and nurtured the Second Ward until his death.

Alderman Barnett is a very real part of the Second Ward's history. He was a Dawson era politician who understood organizational politics and did not hesitate to fight for what he believed in. In fact, to a great extent, today's African American elected officials are standing on his shoulders. His trailblazing efforts led to the capturing and conquering of the white political bosses and to the creation of Black politics. He, along with men like Congressman William Dawson, made Chicago the political capital of the world and Chicago's Second Ward became the mother of Black politics in America.

I respected and loved William Barnett. He was a friend and we had a relationship that I truly valued. He leaves a gaping hole in Chicago's political legacy. I mourn his death.