Gus Savage, U.S. House of Representatives   Leave a comment

Augustus Alexander “Gus” Savage (born October 30, 1925) is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois.

Savage was born in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Roosevelt University. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946. He worked as a journalist from 1954 to 1979, owning a chain of community weekly newspapers in the Chicago area. He was unsuccessful in his candidacy for the House of Representatives in 1968 and 1970, losing the Democratic primary both times. Savage won election to the House in 1980, representing the 2nd District on Chicago’s south side. He caused controversy being a critic of Israel and supporting the Palestinians. Savage also gave a speech where he listed the names of all of the Jewish donors living outside of Chicago area who donated money to his opponent. This led to a backlash and claims that only white people could be racist. The press claimed that Savage made statements against both white and Jewish people that were considered to be racist and antisemitic. In 1989, Savage was accused of trying to force himself on a female Peace Corps worker in Zaire. Savage denied these allegations and blamed it on the “racist press.” In January 1990, the House Ethics Committee decided that the events did occur, but it did not take disciplinary action because Savage wrote a letter of apology to the woman, but only after calling her a “traitor to the black race”

Savage had long been controversial even in his own district, never winning a primary election with more than 52% of the vote, and usually facing multiple challengers. Before the 1992 election, his district was extended further into Chicago’s south suburbs due to redistricting, and Savage faced Mel Reynolds in the primary election; Reynolds had previously challenged Savage in 1988 and 1990. Savage claimed that “racist Jews” were donating to Reynolds, and Reynolds claimed that Savage was involved in a drive-by shooting that injured him, which some aides claimed happened due to Savage’s remarks. Savage accused Reynolds of staging the shooting, but lost the election by a margin of 63%-37%.

As one of his final acts as Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Public Building and Grounds, Savage was at the helm of ceasing excavations of the African Burial Ground in New York City. After months of protests, the General Services Administration disregarded the wishes of community members and local politicians. Savage was able to use his position as a national politician to bring action to the cause.


Posted February 20, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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