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Chicago civil rights activist Timuel Black dies aged 102: report – NBC Chicago


Timuel Dixon Black, a prominent Chicago civil rights activist who promoted equal rights and dedicated his life to service and education, is believed to have died.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Black died Wednesday at the age of 102.

Black was a celebrated centenary in the city.

He was born on December 7, 1918 to sharecroppers 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, marching on picket lines to protest white jobs in the Bronzeville shopping district.

He attended DuSable High School, where he was a classmate with famous musician Nat King Cole and John Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines.

Black joined the Army at the age of 23, serving in WWII in Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge. He promoted desegregation in the armed forces and his period of service earned him four Battle Stars.

After the war, Black returned home and went to college, earning his BA from Roosevelt University and his MA from the University of Chicago before becoming a teacher.

In the mid-1950s, Black became very active in the civil rights movement. He advocated for racial equality, open housing in a segregated Chicago, and labor organization.

He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King while in Chicago and led a group of Chicagoans on the 1963 March on Washington.

Black then helped lead the voter registration campaign credited with helping elect the late Mayor Harold Washington. He also worked with former President Barack Obama.

The University of Chicago hosted Black’s 100e anniversary in 2018, where he was awarded the French Legion of Armor.

In 2020, longtime friends and associates hosted a drive-through celebration in honor of the beloved historian and civil rights activist.