Get to Know Your Ward: 8th Ward

NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.

In this profile, learn all about the 8th ward, which covers parts of Avalon Park, Burnside, Calumet Heights, Chatham, South Shore and Greater Grand Crossing.


  • Total Population: 51,687.
  • White: 0.56 percent
  • Black: 96.9 percent
  • Hispanic: 1.34 percent
  • Asian: 0.15 percent (Source: WBEZ)

Current Alderman: Michelle Harris

Ward Committeemen: Margarite Faulker (republican committeeman)

Ward Boundaries: Covers

Who Else is Running: Tara Baldridge, Lynn Franco (removed), Rebecca Sankey (removed) and Faheem Shabazz

Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Violent, historic, close-knit and working class

Predominant Economic Engine: Local businesses

Where People Eat: Fast food restaurants, chicken and fish restaurants, Leona's, King Soul Food, Stony's Palace Cafe

Where People Drink: Celebrity Lounge

Where People Pray: Nation of Islam Mosque Maryam, Oakwood Congregation Jehovah's Witnesses, Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, St. Thomas Lutheran Church and Philadelphia Baptist Church

How the Ward Typically Votes: Michelle Harris has been alderman of the eighth ward since 2006. In 2007, she won 61 percent of the vote, beating Joseph McAfee (9 percent). In 2011, Harris won 68 percent of the vote, beating Faheem Shabazz (15 percent) and James Daniels (12 percent).

Landmark: Avalon Park

Resident's Voice: Cynjora Smith, a manager at Anita's Gumbo, said the community needs more academic programs and programs for young people to get them off the street. "We have a lot of children out there, and their reading level isn't where it needs to be," Smith said.

Ward Expert: Keith O. Tate, president of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council

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