Mayor Cermak

Anton J. Cermak was born in 1873 in Kladno, a town near Prague, Czechoslovakia. His father was a coal miner and brought the family to America in 1874.

They lived in Braidwood, Illinois which was a mining town. He went to Elementary School for just three years. After that, he worked long hours in the dirty coal mines. He earned $1.50 a day.

When he was 19, in 1892, Anton Cermak started his own hauling business in Chicago. He hauled wood, coal, or anything. By 1902, Anton Cermak was an Illinois State Representative. He held many more positions over the next 29 years. Then, in 1931, he was elected mayor of Chicago.

In February of 1933, Mayor Cermak traveled to Miami, Florida to meet with President-elect Franklin Roosevelt.

They arrived on February 15th to be in a parade.

The parade car moved slowly down the street as President-elect Roosevelt and Mayor Cermak smiled and waved. The car stopped and President-elect Roosevelt gave a speech while sitting on the back of the car. A man named Guiseppe Zangara pushed through the crowd. He fired five shots at the President-elect. The bullets hit four people and Mayor Cermak. The mayor fell out of the car and called out “The President, get him away!” But Roosevelt ordered his car to stop and that Mayor Cermak be put in with him. President-elect Roosevelt held Mayor Cermak all the way to the hospital.

Mayor Anton J. Cermak died three weeks later, on March 6, 1933. His body was taken back to Chicago and buried in the Bohemian National Cemetery.

Guiseppe Zangara was executed in the electric chair on March 20, 1933. That was only 14 days after Mayor Cermak died.

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