To the editors:

I’ve clipped and enclosed from Section 1, page 48 of your Friday, January 13, 1989 edition where you report that “Dukakis didn’t do badly . . . in Chicago’s 14 black wards, reports the Chicago Reporter’s Karen Snelling (December 1988).”

To you and Snelling: Chicago has 19 African-American wards.

Judy I. Mitchell-Davis

N. La Salle

Harold Henderson replies:

The Reporter tallied the presidential votes in “the 14 wards in which at least 85 percent of the voting age population is black,” according to 1980 census figures updated by Northern Illinois University–the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, 9th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 34th. As Ms. Mitchell-Davis indicates, there are five more wards–the 4th, 5th, 7th, 15th, and 37th–in which a majority, but less than 85 percent, of the voting-age population is black. (Incidentally, according to David Fremon’s Chicago Politics Ward by Ward, blacks also enjoy a narrow plurality in the 1st Ward.) If these somewhat more evenly divided wards had been included, it would have been difficult to distinguish the African-American votes from those of the white, Hispanic, and other voters in the ward–and it would then have been difficult to make the important point that black voters did not “stay home for Bush” in unusual numbers.