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After recently sending some birthday love to an age-defying 110-year-old Black woman from Virginia, we now have to acknowledge another one of our Black elders for a reason that’s the most unfortunate.
It saddens us to reveal that Chicago’s own Timuel Black, a longtime civil right activist and respected historian, has died at the age of 102.
Reported by The Chicago-Sun Times, Black passed away on Wednesday (October 13) and is survived by his wife, Zenobia Johnson-Black, along with a daughter, Ermetra Black, and will rest in eternal peace along with his two sons, Timuel and Anthony, that both passed away at young ages.
Read a little on the life and social impact of Timuel Black below, via Chicago-Sun Times:
“The youngest of three children, Mr. Black attended an integrated Burke Elementary School before graduating in 1935 from all-Black DuSable High, where his classmates included Johnson Publishing Co. founder John H. Johnson, singer Nat King Cole, and Archibald Carey Jr., who was the first African American delegate to the United Nations.
In 1952, Mr. Black obtained his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Roosevelt University, one of the few colleges open to Blacks at the time. His classmates included Harold Washington, who 30 years later would be elected Chicago’s first Black mayor, with the help of the independent, Black political movement Mr. Black pioneered. Mr. Black got his master’s degree in sociology and history from the University of Chicago in 1954.
His life of social activism began as a teenager during the Great Depression.
After high school, he held varied jobs to help his family — from field representative for the Metropolitan Burial Society, to store clerk. The latter job provided his first experience with labor organizing, when he and co-workers seeking better wages formed a chapter of the Retail Clerks Union. He walked his first picket line in 1931.”
His later years would be filled with countless acts of activism alongside an illustrious list of who’s who in the Black elite, including W.E.B. DuBois, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King Jr. himself. His path even crossed with a young Barack Obama, way before his tenure as U.S. President, after he reached out to Black in 1991 for guidance in jumpstarting his own career in activism.
R.I.P. to Timuel Black, who we will continue to respect not only for his contributions to the advancement of Black people worldwide, but also for his influence on those who changed our community forever.
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