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CHICAGO — Social scientist, civil rights leader, historian, WWII veteran, teacher, storyteller and true Chicago treasure Dr. Timuel Dixon Black celebrated his 102nd birthday Monday.

Admirers drove by to give Black cards and gifts during the celebration in his Kenwood neighborhood, as he told stories of his life. Among his many accomplishments, Black worked for civil rights alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“I had a responsibility to younger people… white, black whatever, that the future was in their hands,” Black said.

Black was born in 1918, the year of the flu epidemic. In a May editorial, he shared the lessons learned during those times and criticized a dismissive attitude some have towards the COVID-19 pandemic because it mostly affects older Americans.

“Wishing a very happy 102nd birthday to Timuel Black. A civil rights leader, veteran, educator and so much more, Dr. Black is a true legend,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter Monday.

There is an endowment being set up at the University of Chicago in Dr. Black’s name to chronicle all of his work in one place, while encouraging others to carry on his legacy and work to make this world a better place.