To anyone who thought I was kidding in my post earlier today about having a "Jane Byrne For Mayor/'87" sign in my front window:
Jane Byrne was mayor of Chicago from 1979 to 1983, the first-- and so far only-- woman mayor of Chicago. She had been Commissioner of Consumer Affairs until fired from that position by Michael Bilandic, who was Mayor Richard J. Daley's successor. In 1979, she defeated him in the mayoral election; many Chicagoans had been outraged by his inability to get snow cleared after back to back snowstorms in December 1978 and January 1979.
Byrne was the first mayor to ally "lakefront liberals" and African-American voters. She was the first Chicago mayor to give recognition to Chicago's growing gay community and hired Chicago's first African-American school superintendent. She's probably best-remembered for when she and her husband, journalist Jay McMullen, moved briefly into Chicago's notoriously dangerous Cabrini-Green housing projects to force police to offer greater protection to its residents.
She was defeated in the 1983 election by Harold Washington, who became Chicago's first African-American mayor. He also defeated her in 1987.