Dick Simpson recounts ‘The Good Fight’
February 2, 2018

UIC Professor of Political Science Dick Simpson has written a new book, entitled The Good Fight.

Dick Simpson, professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and former alderman, has written a memoir of his life during some of Chicago’s and the nation’s most tumultuous times. Published by Golden Alley Press, The Good Fight: Life Lessons from a Chicago Progressive, is available for $16.95 in bookstores, from the publisher at www.goldenalleypres.com/the-good-fight, and from numerous online booksellers.

In The Good Fight, Simpson described the context of his time on the political and social battlefields. “During the turmoil of wars, recessions, scandals, impeachments, economic growth, new media, and political struggle, I have often had a front-row seat,” he wrote. “At the midlevel of politics, government, social movements, and institutions like universities, I know how the sausage is made, because I’ve been a sausage maker….I attempt to tell the truth about my life, including some details kept private until now.”

Throughout the 266-page paperback, Simpson recounts his struggle to balance the demands of his teaching and political life with his married life. He writes candidly about his three marriages and two divorces and his partners’ long battles with cancer.

Simpson includes many stories from 50 years in the trenches of Chicago politics and as colleague, friend, and adviser to personalities such as Mayor Harold Washington, Studs Terkel, Don Rose, and Dawn Clark Netsch.

In 1971, Simpson won his first election as alderman in the 44th Ward. He won reelection in 1975. As alderman, Simpson created a ward assembly so residents could vote on important issues to influence his vote in City Council. He also introduced progressive legislation and led the independent aldermen who opposed Mayor Richard J. Daley’s autocratic rule of city government.

Many times at Council meetings, rather than allow Simpson to challenge the mayor and gain media attention, Daley shut off his microphone. During their most heated exchange, when Simpson criticized Daley for giving City insurance business to his sons, Daley ordered the police to silence him forcibly in the chamber. 

Following the 1979 municipal elections, Simpson led a team of authors, including UIC students, who wrote a transition report for Mayor Jane Byrne, which she refused to make public. After Chicago Lawyer magazine successfully sued her, Simpson released the report to the media. In 1982-83, Simpson wrote campaign speeches for mayoral candidate Harold Washington. After Washington won, Simpson headed Washington’s transition team and advised the new mayor at the start of his administration.

Simpson, with co-authors, has published seven reports and a book about political corruption in Chicago and Illinois.