Civil Rights Activist, Historian Timuel Black Dies At 102


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Chicago activist–educator–historian Timuel Black died Wednesday (October 13) at the age of 102.

Black, was widely revered as a cornerstone of Chicago Black history and served as a professor of sociology and anthropology with the City Colleges of Chicago. He was also a high school history teacher within the Chicago Public School system and a leader of the Black independent police movement who is credited with coining the phrase "plantation politics."

"Tim left his mark on this city, on his friends who knew him and on those who know of him," his wife of 40 years, Zenobia Johnson-Black, told the Chicago-Sun Times. "He would like for his legacy to be an inspiration to people who are trying to make this world a better place, because that's all he tried to do," she added.

"Today, we lost an icon," Former President Barack Obama tweeted in light of Black's passing. "Over his 102 years, Tim was many things: a veteran, historian, author, educator, civil rights leader and humanitarian. Michelle and I send our thoughts his family, and everyone who loved him."

Born December 7, 1918, Black spoke with the Sun-Times when he turned 100 years old, sharing part of his life's journey:

"My mother and father were children of former slaves, my great-grandparents, products of the Emancipation Proclamation," Black said at the time. "I came up at time when African American men –– and women, too –– were being lynched, the racial segregation so terrible, people were fleeing to escape the terrorism."

Rev. Jesse Jackson also paid tribute to Black stating, "Tim embraced us as his younger brothers and sisters. We all have a profound admiration for Tim Black. His is an icon of rare vintage."

Black's memoir, Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black, was released in January 2019.

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