The 1st Congressional District of Illinois
includes part of Cook County
, and has been represented by Democrat Bobby Rush
since January 1993. This district includes much of the South Side of Chicago
, extending into the city's southwest suburbs
until reaching the border of Will County
, and covers 97.84 square miles
), making it one of the 40 smallest districts
in the U.S. although there are four smaller districts in Illinois. It is adjacent to the 2nd District
to the east and south, the 7th District
to the north, and the 3rd
and 13th Districts
to the west, and also borders the 11th District
at its southwest corner; the district's northeast border follows Lake Michigan
's shoreline for almost a mile. The district was created following the 1830 Census
and came into being in 1833, five months before Chicago was organized as a town; the state was previously represented in Congress
on an at large
basis. The 1st District initially included southwestern Illinois
until 1853 and the state's northern edge
until 1863; since that time the district has included all or part of Cook County, with its population primarily residing on Chicago's South Side
The district has the highest percentage (65.5) of African American residents in the nation, and has been represented in Congress by African Americans since 1929. It is also one of the most reliably Democratic districts in the country, although not quite to the nearly monolithic extent that it was during the 1980s when over 90% of the district's residents were black. The district has not elected a Republican to Congress since 1932, and Democratic candidates routinely receive over 80% of the vote here.
In the City of Chicago
, the 1st District includes the communities of Auburn Gresham
and Greater Grand Crossing
; almost all of West Englewood
; the portion of Englewood
south of 57th Street; the portion of Woodlawn
west of Stony Island Avenue
(i.e. excluding Jackson Park
); the southern half of Kenwood
(home of U.S. Senator Barack Obama
); the eastern portion of Ashburn
; parts of Avalon Park
, Calumet Heights
, Chicago Lawn
, Grand Boulevard
, Hyde Park
, Morgan Park
, New City
, South Shore
, Washington Heights
and Washington Park
; the portion of Beverly
southeast of 97th Street and Prospect Avenue; the portion of West Pullman
southwest of 119th Street and Racine Avenue; and approximately two square blocks at the northwest corner of South Chicago
The district's area south of 95th Street is almost entirely west of the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate 57). The district includes the suburban municipalities of Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Midlothian, Posen and Robbins, nearly all of Alsip, Blue Island and Oak Forest, parts of Calumet Park, Dixmoor, Markham, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Tinley Park and Worth, and some small sections of Country Club Hills and Riverdale.
Illinois' 1st District was the nation's first district with a black majority population, and has included the central area of Chicago's South Side African American
community since the 1920s. Over 85% of the district's residents were black during the period from the 1950s through the 1980s, but redistricting since that time – which redrew the district lines with the goal of maintaining three Chicago districts with black populations exceeding 60% – has reduced the percentage of black residents in the 1st District to 70% in the 1990s and the current figure of 65%. Outward migration has caused the South Side's population to decrease over the years, and the district has expanded to the southwest to gain residents, particularly as the state's Congressional delegation has been reduced in numbers; the district, which covered only nine square miles in the 1950s, is now over ten times that size, and nearly half its current area was added for the 2000s.
The 1st District's population dropped by 27% in the 1950s, and by 20% in both the 1970s and 1980s, and in redistricting after the 1990 Census, the district was extended into the suburbs for the first time in 90 years. Chicago is now home to 70% of the district's residents (down from 90% in the 1990s), although roughly 60% of the district's area is outside the city. The district's white population (almost 30% of its residents) is concentrated in the suburban areas and in a few Chicago neighborhoods such as Hyde Park. The district's largest white ethnic groups are Irish (7.1%), German (6.2%), Polish (4.5%) and Italian (3.2%), mirroring the demographics of the neighboring 3rd and 13th Districts. There are also sizable Dutch, Swedish, Czech, Greek and Lithuanian populations in the area of Oak Forest, Orland Park and Tinley Park, the district's three largest suburbs.
The Kenwood-Hyde Park area was for several decades home to a significant Jewish community, and there is still ample evidence of its history; the former Kehilath Anshe Ma'ariv temple (its second location) has been the headquarters of Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH/Rainbow Coalition since 1971 The area also includes a notable Black Muslim presence; the home of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is in Kenwood.
As of 2000, only 38% of the district's adult residents were married, well below the national average of 54.4%.
The departure of the steel industry
, along with other manufacturing jobs, from the South Side in recent decades has created economic difficulties which the area is still trying to overcome. The 1st District's median household income as of 2000, $37,222, trailed the national average by 11.4%, the unemployment rate (7.6%) was more than double the national rate, and nearly 20% of district residents were living in poverty. These problems are more pronounced within the Chicago portion of the district – 14 of the district's 18 suburbs had median household incomes over $40,000 as of 1999, with the six most affluent grouped in the southwest corner of the district – although black middle-class Chicago neighborhoods such as Avalon Park and Chatham have remained more stable, along with the more upscale Hyde Park-Kenwood area. Health care
and higher education
now constitute major economic sectors in the region.
Hospitals in the district include Oak Forest Hospital in Oak Forest and Provident Hospital in Grand Boulevard, both part of the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, as well as the University of Chicago Hospitals in Hyde Park, Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago Lawn, St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Jackson Park Hospital in South Shore and St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood.
Local educational institutions include the University of Chicago in Hyde Park, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Douglas, Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights and Kennedy-King College, a Chicago city college, in Englewood, and Chicago State University in Roseland is located directly outside the district at its southern edge; in addition, there are five seminaries in Hyde Park: the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Theological Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology, McCormick Theological Seminary and Meadville Lombard Theological School.
U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, is less than 1000 feet west of the district's northwestern border. Other area cultural and entertainment attractions include the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago's Washington Park, and First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park; several square miles of Cook County Forest Preserves can be found on three sides of Oak Forest, and Oak Forest's Chicago Gaelic Park is home to Irish Fest, held annually on Memorial Day weekend. Business and industrial presences in the district include Panduit Corporation , an electrical manufacturer in Tinley Park; Parco Foods , a cookie manufacturer in Blue Island; and Midwest Suburban Publishing, publisher of the Daily Southtown, in Tinley Park.
In addition to Washington Park and those sites associated with the University of Chicago and IIT, district locations on the National Register of Historic Places include:
- Chicago Beach Hotel, Hyde Park
- Arthur H. Compton House National Historic Landmark, Hyde Park
- East Park Towers, Hyde Park
- Eighth Regiment Armory, Douglas
- Four Nineteen Building, Chatham
- Garden Homes Historic District, Chatham
- Grand Crossing Park, Greater Grand Crossing
- Hamilton Park, Englewood
- Anton E. Hanson House, South Shore
- Isadore H. Heller House National Historic Landmark, Hyde Park
- Hotel Windermere East, Hyde Park
- Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District
- Jackson Park Historic Landscape District and Midway Plaisance,
Hyde Park/Washington Park
- Kehilath Anshe Ma'ariv Synagogue, Douglas
- Frank R. Lillie House National Historic Landmark, Hyde Park
- Mayfair Apartments, Hyde Park
Robert A. Millikan House National Historic Landmark, Hyde Park
The Narragansett, Kenwood
Overton Hygienic Building, Douglas
Poinsettia Apartments, Hyde Park
Frederick C. Robie House National Historic Landmark, Hyde Park
Martin Roche-John Tait House, Douglas
Robert Roloson Houses, Douglas
St. Thomas Church and Convent, Hyde Park
South Park Manor Historic District, Greater Grand Crossing
Lorado Taft Midway Studios National Historic Landmark, Woodlawn
George R. Thorne House, Midlothian
Unity Hall, Douglas
Victory Monument, Douglas
Karl Vogt Building, Tinley Park
Ida B. Wells-Barnett House National Historic Landmark, Douglas
The Yale, Englewood
Joshua P. Young House, Blue Island|
Democrats routinely dominate the political landscape in the 1st District, with the main focus of competition being the party primary
; only twice since 1966 has a Republican candidate for Congress received over 20% of the vote, and the Democratic nominee has topped 80% in every presidential race
during that time. However, the district's expansion into the suburbs in the 1990s has increased the level of Republican support past the 10% mark, and while George W. Bush
received only 17% of the vote here in 2004
, it was nonetheless the best showing by a Republican presidential candidate in the district in over 40 years.
Within the context of Chicago politics, the 1st District has been noted since the early 1970s for its opposition to the city's Democratic machine. William L. Dawson, Congressman from 1943 to 1970, had maintained the district's loyalty to the machine under Mayor Richard J. Daley, and his successor Ralph Metcalfe initially continued that stance; but Metcalfe publicly broke with Daley over an incident of police brutality in 1972, establishing a rift that has remained over the years. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson organized campaigning for the 1972 re-election of U.S. Senator Charles H. Percy against machine-backed Chicago alderman Roman Pucinski, and also for Bernard Carey for Cook County State's Attorney; Percy and Carey, both liberal Republicans, won their races. When Metcalfe died less than one month before the 1978 election, Democratic party officials named machine loyalist Bennett M. Stewart to take his place on the ballot; in response, Republicans replaced their candidate with anti-machine former Democratic alderman A.A. "Sammy" Rayner. Despite the campaign support of Jackson for Rayner, Stewart won the election although Rayner did manage to get over 40% of the vote; also, Jackson's forces again helped Percy gain re-election to the Senate over the machine-backed Democrat.
Stewart served only one term, however, as machine opponent Harold Washington won the 1980 congressional nomination handily. He left Congress in 1983 upon being elected Mayor, after winning a contentious three-way primary with 37% of the vote. His successor in Congress was union organizer Charles Hayes, but Hayes lost the 1992 primary to Bobby Rush by a 42%-39% margin following the House banking scandal, in which it was revealed that he had 716 overdrafts on his congressional checking account; Rush had previously lost the 1988 and 1990 primaries to Hayes.
Rush was a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panthers in 1968, establishing a program for free breakfasts for poor children and a clinic for sickle cell anemia screenings. He became a Chicago alderman from 1983 until his election to Congress, and was an ally of Mayor Washington in the Council Wars of the 1980s. He has maintained a solidly liberal voting record in Congress, consistently voting the Democratic position over 90% of the time; when he has broken from the party, it has usually been to take an even more liberal position, rather than that held by Republicans. Rush opposed incumbent Richard M. Daley in the 1999 election for mayor of Chicago, but despite the support of fellow congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Danny Davis he was backed by only 3 out of 50 aldermen, and lost the election by a margin of 72%-28%; he managed only a 55%-45% advantage among black voters. Barack Obama opposed Rush in the 2000 congressional primary, but Rush emerged with a 61%-30% win after Obama spent three months in Hawaii with his ill daughter. Redistricting following the 2000 Census moved Obama's home into the 2nd District, although he has since moved back into the 1st District.
Rush has focused much of his attention in Congress on urban revitalization issues, and he was a staunch supporter of gun control efforts even before his adult son Huey (named for Black Panther leader Huey Newton) was killed in a 1999 mugging. Rush has generally received perfect ratings of 100 from labor groups including the AFL-CIO and AFSCME, and occasionally also from Americans for Democratic Action, the ACLU and the National Abortion Rights Action League; he received corresponding 0 ratings from the American Conservative Union in 6 of his first 12 years in office.
History of district boundaries
The total number of representatives allotted to Illinois during each period follows the years in parentheses; boundaries went into effect beginning with the previous year's elections:
- 1833-1843 (3): The district included the sixteen counties in the state's southwestern section: Alexander, Bond, Clinton, Franklin, Gallatin, Jackson, Johnson, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Randolph, St. Clair, Union and Washington counties (five additional counties were later created within this area).
- 1843-1853 (7): The district was reduced in size, and now included eleven counties: Alexander, Bond, Clinton, Jackson, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Union and Washington counties.
- 1853-1863 (9): The district was shifted north to cover the eight counties along the state's northern edge: Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties. Ulysses S. Grant was a district resident in 1860-61 during the period when he was out of the Army, working in his family's store in Galena, and he became acquainted with Congressman Elihu B. Washburne; Washburne became his political mentor and sponsor, and eventually became Grant's first Secretary of State.
- 1863-1873 (14, including one elected at large): The district during this decade, beginning during the Civil War, consisted of all of Cook County. Industrialist Cyrus McCormick was defeated in the 1864 House election as the Democratic candidate. Later during this period, the district was devastated by the Great Chicago Fire in October 1871.
- 1873-1883 (19): The district was restructured, and now included DuPage County, the thirteen townships comprising the southern half of Cook County (Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Hyde Park, Lake, Lemont, Lyons, Orland, Palos, Rich, Riverside, Thornton, Worth), and the entire South Side and part of the West side of Chicago. The Chicago portion of the district began downtown and extended south to 39th Street (now Pershing Road) east of the Chicago River and south of the river and the Illinois and Michigan Canal, with its western boundary being Western Avenue; on the west side, the district included the area between 16th Street on the north and the river and canal on the south, with the city's western boundary then being Crawford Avenue (now Pulaski Road).
- 1883-1895 (20/22): The district during this period remained identical to its previous configuration, except that it no longer included DuPage County or the portion of Chicago west of Clark Street between 16th and 39th Streets. Illinois gained two additional representatives following the 1890 Census, but they were elected on an at-large basis for the 1893-1895 term before redistricting occurred, and the previous decade's districting remained in effect.
- 1895-1903 (22): The district now included the seven townships in southeastern Cook County (Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Orland, Rich, Thornton, Worth), and the portion of Chicago's South Side bordered on the north by 26th Street, and on the west by Wentworth Avenue from 26th to 39th Streets and by State Street from 39th to 63rd Streets before following 63rd Street west to the city's border with Lyons Township (then at Cicero Avenue).
- 1903-1949 (initially 25; two of 27 elected at large from 1913-43, and one of 26 elected at large from 1943-49): The district was now confined to the city of Chicago for the first time, and included downtown and the area east of Wentworth to 43rd Street, also reaching west to include Armour Square as well as most of Bridgeport northeast of 33rd and Halsted Streets. Illinois' districts were not redrawn until 1947, taking effect for the 1948 elections. In 1928, Oscar De Priest became the first African American elected to Congress in the 20th century.
- 1949-1963 (26 from 1949-1953; 25 thereafter): The district included that part of Chicago bounded on the north by the river; on the east by the lake to Pershing Road and by Cottage Grove Avenue from Pershing to 71st Street and South Chicago Avenue; on the south by Marquette Road from State Street to South Chicago Avenue, following that southeast to 71st and Cottage Grove; and on the west by Wallace Street (from the river to 25th Street), Canal Street (25th to 31st Street), Wentworth (31st to 43rd Street), the railroad between State and Wentworth (43rd to 59th Street) and State Street (59th to Marquette). The same boundaries were maintained in the redistricting after 1950.
- 1963-1967 (24): The district included that part of Chicago between 31st and 99th Streets bounded on the west by Wentworth (31st to Garfield Boulevard), the railroad 1/4 mile east of Halsted (Garfield to 59th), Halsted (59th to 63rd), State Street (63rd to 83rd) and Stewart Avenue (83rd to 99th), and bounded on the east by the lake (31st to 46th), Cottage Grove (46th to 65th) and Stony Island Avenue (65th to 99th).
- 1967-1973 (24): There was additional redistricting in Illinois which took effect for the 1967-1969 term. All of the 1st District's previous territory was retained, but it was extended further north as far as Cermak Road, with its western boundary being the railroad between State and Wentworth (Cermak to 28th Street) and then Wentworth (28th to Garfield). In addition, a small area east of Woodlawn Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets was added.
- 1973-1983 (24): The district included that part of Chicago between 31st and 103rd Streets bounded on the west by King Drive (31st to 35th), State (35th to Pershing), the railroad 1/4 mile west of State (Pershing to Garfield), King Drive (Garfield to Marquette), Yale Avenue (Marquette to 69th), Harvard Avenue (69th to 70th), Stewart (70th to 71st), Halsted (71st to 95th), the railroad 1/2 mile east of Halsted (95th to 99th) and State (99th to 103rd), and on the east by the lake (31st to 71st Street/South Shore Drive), Yates Boulevard (71st to 73rd), Jeffery Boulevard (73rd to 75th) and Stony Island, continuing onto the Calumet Expressway (75th to 103rd, with minor variation at 95th).
- 1983-1993 (22): The 1st District was now the only remaining district entirely within the city of Chicago, and included that area between Cermak Road and 103rd Street bounded on the west by Federal Street (Cermak to 25th), the railroad 1/4 mile west of State (25th to 35th), the railroad 1/2 mile east of Halsted (35th to 42nd and 43rd to 47th), Stewart (42nd to 43rd), Morgan Street (47th to 48th), Racine Avenue (48th to Garfield), Peoria Street (Garfield to 56th), Green Street (56th to 57th) and Halsted (57th to 103rd), and on the east by the lake (Cermak to 73rd) and Yates (73rd to 103rd).
- 1993-2003 (20): The district expanded into the suburbs for the first time in 90 years, increasing its total area from 32 to 56 square miles. It now included: the Chicago communities of Douglas, Oakland, Kenwood, Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Greater Grand Crossing, Avalon Park, Burnside, Chatham and Mount Greenwood; those portions of Auburn Gresham and Washington Heights east of Halsted, those portions of Roseland and Pullman north of 103rd Street, and those portions of Calumet Heights and South Chicago west of Yates Boulevard; the portion of South Deering northwest of 103rd and Yates; South Shore, excepting the area southeast of 71st and Yates; Washington Park, excepting the area northwest of 57th and King Drive; the part of Grand Boulevard north of 43rd Street, as well as most of the area east of Vincennes Avenue; the portion of Armour Square southeast of 35th Street and Princeton Avenue; most of Englewood north of 63rd or east of Halsted; the portion of West Englewood north of 63rd; most of New City southwest of 49th and May Streets; most of Brighton Park southeast of 40th and Kedzie Avenue; portions of Gage Park east of Kedzie, most of Chicago Lawn east of Kedzie, and the portion of Ashburn east of Kedzie; Beverly, excepting the area southeast of 103rd and Prospect Avenue; and most of Morgan Park west of Vincennes. In the suburbs, the district included the villages of Evergreen Park and Merrionette Park, the portion of Alsip east of Cicero Avenue, the portion of Blue Island in Worth Township north of the Calumet Sag Channel, and, with minor variations, the portion of Oak Lawn southeast of 101st and Cicero.
- 2003-present (19): See map and geography above. For a more detailed map, see the Census Bureau map linked below.
This table indicates how the 1st District has voted in U.S. presidential elections
; election results reflect voting in the district as it was configured at the time of the election, not as it is configured today. The candidate who received the most votes in the district is listed first; the candidate who won the election nationally is in CAPS, and the candidate who won the state of Illinois is indicated with a †.
||Other candidates |
|1852|| Scott (W), 6,992 (42%)|| PIERCE† (D), 6,948 (41%)
||Hale (Free Soil), 2,885 (17%) |
|1856|| Frémont (R), 18,247 (73%)|| BUCHANAN† (D), 5,991 (24%)
||Fillmore (American), 677 (3%) |
|1860|| LINCOLN† (R), 21,436 (70%)|| Douglas (D), 8,940 (29%)
||Bell (Constitutional Union), 99 (0.3%); Breckinridge (D), 62 (0.2%) |
|1864|| LINCOLN† (R), 18,667 (81%)|| McClellan (D), 4,351 (19%)
|1868|| GRANT† (R), 27,527 (59%)|| Seymour (D), 19,104 (41%)
|1952|| Stevenson (D), 99,224 (75%)|| EISENHOWER† (R), 33,805 (25%)
|1956|| Stevenson (D), 68,266 (64%)|| EISENHOWER† (R), 38,827 (36%)
|1968|| Humphrey (D), 138,835 (93%)|| NIXON† (R), 10,081 (7%)
||Wallace (AIP), 1,010 (1%) |
|1972|| McGovern (D), 145,003 (90%)|| NIXON† (R), 16,998 (10%)
|1976|| CARTER (D), 130,882 (90%)|| Ford† (R), 13,817 (10%)
|1980|| Carter (D), 128,426 (91%)|| REAGAN† (R), 6,633 (5%)
||Anderson (Indep.), 3,092 (2%) |
|1984|| Mondale (D), 196,351 (95%)|| REAGAN† (R), 10,153 (5%)
|1988|| Dukakis (D), 174,793 (95%)|| BUSH† (R), 7,168 (4%)
|1992|| CLINTON† (D), 214,104 (81%)|| Bush (R), 32,803 (12%)
||Perot (Indep.), 17,355 (7%) |
|1996|| CLINTON† (D), 179,767 (85%)|| Dole (R), 22,914 (11%)
||Perot (Reform), 6,378 (3%) |
|2000|| Gore† (D), 194,432 (87%)|| BUSH (R), 24,276 (11%)
||Nader (Green), 2,867 (1%) |
|2004|| Kerry† (D), 234,086 (83%)|| BUSH (R), 47,533 (17%)