Chicago community saddened over death of activist Timuel Black (Chicago, IL) — Chicago-area activist Timuel Black lost his life today at the age of 102. Black was admitted to home hospice care earlier this month.
Timuel Black was known for his works as a social worker, activist, historian, and community leader throughout his decades-long career. Born in 1918, Black and his family moved to Chicago from Alabama at the age of 3. Black served in the US Army during World War II after being drafted in 1943. He received several accolades for his time in the military.
Black attended DuSable High School in Chicago, then went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and his Master’s from the University of Chicago.
Fellow Chicago activist Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. called Black a “dear friend” and said, “[Timuel Black] was a great teacher and a tall tree in the civil rights forest. He was a teacher par excellence. He followed students beyond the classroom. Tim taught them about politics and business science. He was a devotee of Dr. King’s work and those who worked on his staff. Tim embraced us as his younger brothers and sisters. We all have a profound admiration for Tim Black. He is an icon of rare vintage…one of the rare teachers in the city of Chicago.
US Congressman Bobby Rush also released a statement:
“My friend Tim Black spent every day of his life pouring his best into others. As an educator, a community activist, a civil rights activist, a political activist, a confidante, an elder, and a sage, Tim gave his all to all of us.
“He was at the heartbeat of the Black community, the Chicago community, the national community, and the international community. From Nelson Mandela’s freedom and election as President of South Africa, to Harold Washington’s election as Mayor of Chicago, to Barack Obama’s election as the first Black President of the United States; from Jesse Jackson’s campaign for President, to Carol Moseley Braun’s election as the first Black woman in the U.S. Senate — Tim’s contributions were felt in every single one of these historic achievements.
“One of my favorite memories of Tim was being present when he was telling Herbie Hancock about his relationship with Herbie’s father and seeing the glean in Herbie Hancock’s eyes as he told the story. Tim’s enthusiasm as an author and educator was inspiring, and his impact is utterly incalculable.”
Chicago Alderwoman Pat Dowell was also deeply saddened by the news of Black’s passing, saying, “Timuel Black was a towering intellect, passionate leader, and generous mentor. I
just visited with him on Monday. He was a trusted advisor and dear friend. We worked closely on education issues as he was a member of the DuSable High School Alumni Coalition. He was the driving force behind the landmark designation of the school. One of my proudest moments as Alderman was passing legislation that created a street sign in his honor on State State at 49th Street. I was humbled that he enthusiastically served as a Chairman of my campaign for Illinois Secretary of State. My sincere condolences to his wife, Zenobia, and all who loved and admired him. We lost a pillar of our community today. His legacy will live on.”
Chicago community saddened over death of activist Timuel Black