Ode to a Socialist Chicago: William E. Rodriguez Illustration by Miles Kampf-Lassin.

Ode to a Socialist Chicago: William E. Rodriguez

In 1914, William E. Rodriguez—an outspoken socialist—won election to Chicago city council as alderman of the 15th Ward on the city’s northwest side. Part of a current of socialist elected officials at the time, Rodriguez was also the first Hispanic individual elected as Chicago alderman. In office, Rodriguez railed against the transit companies that ran transportation in the city at the time, blasting the corporate profits that came at the expense of the public. Rodriguez would go on to be re-elected in 1916, and later went on to found the Chicago chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He died in 1970.

Illustration of William E. Rodgriguez
Illustration by Miles Kampf-Lassin.