Louis B. Anderson, Class of 1897

Second African-American alderman in Chicago

Louis B. Anderson was a former alderman and political leader in Chicago in the early 1900s. Born in Virginia in 1870, he came to Chicago in 1892 as secretary to Moses P. Handy, the promoter general of the World Columbian Exposition. After a stint out west working with Buffalo Bill Cody, Anderson returned to Chicago and attended Chicago-Kent, graduating in 1897. There, he became close friends with his fellow honoree, Robert S. Abbott, and when Abbott founded the Chicago Defender, Anderson was a contributing editor.

Upon graduation from Chicago-Kent, Anderson served 17 years as a county attorney in the psychopathic court and five years as assistant corporation counsel during the late Fred Busse’s term as mayor of Chicago. He was elected alderman of the second ward in 1917, becoming just the second African-American alderman in Chicago. During his tenure, he was chairman of the council’s finance committee and Mayor William Hale Thompson’s floor leader. He finally retired from politics in 1933.

Anderson passed away in 1946 at the age of 76. His obituary in the Chicago Defender began, “Chicago lost one of its pioneers and most distinguished citizens.” Anderson Park, located at 3748 S. Prairie Ave., is named after him.