Funeral held Friday for Chicago civil rights activist, historian Timuel Black

Chicago News

CHICAGO — A private funeral was held on the South Side for a civil rights activist from Chicago.

Civil rights activist, retired Chicago professor and historian Timuel Black died Wednesday at the age of 102.

Local leaders, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle gathered at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago Friday morning to celebrate his life.

Among his many accomplishments, Black was an organizer of the march on Washington in 1963. He also was part of the campaign to elect Chicago’s first African American Mayor Harold Washington in 1983.

He graduated in 1935 from DuSable High School and would serve in the army during World War II.

Former President Barack Obama said Wednesday in a statement that Black “was a testament to the power of place, and how the work we do to improve one community can end up reverberating through other neighborhoods and other cities, eventually changing the world.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Roosevelt University and his master’s from the University of Chicago. Black would go on to teach history in Chicago’s public schools and was a sociology and anthropology professor with City Colleges of Chicago.

“Timuel Black has been an anchor in the most consequential struggles for racial, social and economic justice of our times,” the Chicago Teachers Union said in a release Wednesday. “For generations, he marshalled his voice, his wisdom, his humanity and his tireless activism to support movements that ranged from the struggle for voting rights for Black and Brown people.”

Black joined the First Unitarian Church of Chicago back in 1953. Father Michael Pfleger gave his eulogy Friday.

Black is survived by his wife, daughter and a hosts of cousins, nieces and nephews.

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