A memorial service will be held on Friday in honor of the life and legacy of Chicago civil rights activist Timuel Black, who died earlier this month at the age of 102.
Black, who died on October 13, spent decades at the forefront of the struggle for civil rights in the United States, worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped elect the late Mayor Harold Washington in 1983.
In his memory, a public tour took place on Thursday, during which, according to the family, the funeral on Friday was limited to invited guests and speakers. The funeral will be broadcast live on YouTube.
Pastor Michael Pfleger from the Church of St. Sabina will give the eulogy at the funeral. Senator Dick Durbin, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Obama Foundation Executive Vice President Michael Alexander Strautmanis and Peggy Montes of the DuSable Museum of African American History will speak at the celebration.
According to the family, a public memorial service will be held at the University of Chicago on December 5th.
Tim spent decades recording and processing the history of Black Chicago, but he’s also made a lot of history himself.
Black was a celebrated centenarian in town and his death drew condolences from high places.
“Today the city of Chicago and the world have lost an icon with the death of Timuel Black,” former President Barack Obama wrote on social media, calling him a “truly incredible man”.
“Tim has spent decades recording and processing the history of Black Chicago,” said the former president.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was “lucky” to visit Black before he died.
Timuel Dixon Black, a prominent Chicago civil rights activist, had close ties with the township. On the day of his death, city guides pondered his many accomplishments. Christian Farr from NBC 5 reports.
Black was born on December 7, 1918 to tenants in Birmingham, Alabama. A year later, he and his family moved to Chicago as part of the great migration – and never left.
Black’s activism began as a teenager when he picketed to protest white-only employment in the Bronzeville shopping district.
He attended DuSable High School, where he was classmates with famous musician Nat King Cole and John Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines.
Black joined the army at the age of 23 and served in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. He promoted the desegregation of the armed forces and earned him four battle stars.
After the war, Black returned home and went to college, where he received his bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and his master’s degree from the University of Chicago before becoming a teacher.
In the mid-1950s, Black became very active in the civil rights movement. He advocated racial equality, open housing in a segregated Chicago, and unionization.
Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection
He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King together when he was in Chicago and led a group of Chicagoers to Washington in March 1963.
Black later helped spearhead the voter registration campaign credited with helping in the election of late Mayor Harold Washington.
The University of Chicago hosted Black’s 100th birthday celebration in 2018, where he was awarded the French Armaments Legion.
In 2020, longtime friends and co-workers held a drive-by celebration in honor of the beloved historian and civil rights activist.