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Leon Mathis Despres

Born: 1908 in Chicago, Illinois
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: A native of Chicago, Despres received his undergraduate and law degrees in 1927 and 1929, respectively, from the University of Chicago, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, before beginning a legal practice.

Biography: Leon Desopres was an author, attorney and politician.In April 1955, Despres was elected to the Chicago City Council from the city's Hyde Park neighborhood, as alderman of the 5th ward. Serving until 1975, Despres gained fame as an independent Democrat, consistently opposing the policies of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Frequently on the short end of 49-1 votes, Despres became known as the 'liberal conscience of Chicago.


Primary Literary Genre(s): History; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Leon Mathis Despres on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

Challenging the Daley machine :
ISBN: 0810122235 OCLC: 56490866

Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : 2005.

"In Mayor Richard J. Daley's fifty-member Chicago City Council, Alderman Leon M. Despres frequently faced defeats of forty-nine to one. Council meetings were manipulated by Robert's Rules of Order so that Despres was not allowed to speak or was continually interrupted. And when he did get a chance to talk, his microphone would often be turned off. Yet he fought on relentlessly, eventually winning on one major issue after another."