Feb 3, 2023 - Food and Drink

Jesse White's Best Day Ever in Chicago

Guy in a basketball outfit

Photo courtesy of Jesse White.

Jesse White β€” the longest-serving secretary of state in Illinois history β€” retired last month after 24 years in the office.

  • But to focus solely on his time in politics would be a disservice to the 88-year-old who embodies Black history, because he lived it (and still does).

What they're saying: "I went to Alabama State University on a full scholarship to play baseball," White tells Axios.

  • "Dr. King was my minister, former Mayor Eugene Sawyer and I were in the same dormitory, and I was there when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus."

State of play: These days, the onetime Chicago Cubs prospect remains active, coaching his Jesse White Tumblers out of the Jesse White Community Center on Chicago Avenue, in the same neighborhood where he grew up.

We asked White to describe his perfect day in Chicago.

🍳 Breakfast: "I go to Griddle 24 at Chicago and Orleans or Hashbrowns at Wells and Division. I get the liquid and gastronomical appeasement that I have enjoyed over a long period of time: bacon, eggs, hash browns with orange or grapefruit juice."

  • "Other times, pancakes and sausage would be to my liking."

πŸ‹οΈβ€β™€οΈ Morning activity: "I exercise in the gym where I live on Division, and I have been doing that for 35 years. I use the bicycle and lift weights and don't run as much as I used to, but I do a little jogging and a lot of situps and pushups."

πŸ₯ͺ Lunch: "I like Mr. Beef, and I like Manny's in the Maxwell Street area."

Guy eating lunch
Former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White at Manny's Deli on Primary Day in June 2022. Photo: Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

πŸ€Έβ€β™€οΈ Afternoon activity: "I would spend time teaching and coaching the Jesse White Tumblers or take them to the various locations for them to perform. We have traveled all over the world to perform, and we have done a lot of NBA and NFL events."

🐟 Dinner: "I would go to Gibsons or Gene & Georgetti or Greek Islands."

  • "At Gibsons I like the whitefish on a plank. At Greek Islands I get the sea bass and spinach pie. At Gene & Georgetti, I eat it all."

πŸ€ Evening activity: "I like to sit around with my friends and play cards or go to baseball, basketball or football games or stay home and watch television."


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