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Timuel Black, civil rights icon and historian, dead at 102 – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – Timuel Black, a noted civil rights activist, writer, and historian, has died at the age of 102.

Mr. Black’s widow, Zenobia Johnson-Black, confirmed his death Wednesday afternoon.

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Few people knew more about Chicago’s black history than Mr. Black. At the age of 102 he had seen his share.

Dr. Black moved to Bronzeville in 1919 and was one of the earliest DuSable High School graduates.

During the Second World War he served in the military, took part in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, and experienced the horrors of the Holocaust when he visited the Buchenwald concentration camp after its liberation.

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He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assisted in the election of Mayor Harold Washington, who died in 1983, wrote books and advised many.

“Today the city of Chicago and the world have lost an icon with the death of Timuel Black,” former President Obama said in a statement. “Tim spent decades recording and processing the history of Black Chicago. But he also wrote a lot of history himself. “

“In his 102 years, Tim was many things: a veteran, historian, author, educator, civil rights activist and humanist. But most of all, Tim was a testament to the power of the place and how our work to improve a community can ultimately reverberate in other neighborhoods and other cities and eventually change the world, “added Obama. “Today Michelle and I send our thoughts to Tim’s wife Zenobia and everyone who loved and admired this truly incredible man.”

State Street between 49th and 50th Streets is honored with the name of Dr. Timuel Black Street. Dr. Black is also the first recipient of the City of Chicago Champion of Freedom Award and the first to be inducted into the Illinois Black Hall of Fame at Governors State University last March.

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Mr Black had recently started receiving hospice care due to his poor health.

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