Dr. Timuel Black, 2021 Hall of Fame Inductee


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Timuel Black

Dr. Timuel Black was a historian, civil rights activist, and educator. Black was a prominent figure in the 1960s Civil Rights movement, working alongside Martin Luther King and being the first to invite him to Chicago to speak.  

Born in 1918, in Birmingham, Alabama, Black was a child of sharecroppers. His family was part of the first wave of the Great Migration, moving to Chicago in 1919 before the Great Depression. Black lived and grew up in what was called Chicago’s “Black Belt,” known today as Bronzeville. At 25, Black was drafted into World War II. He served in the D-Day Invasion and Battle of the Bulge earning four battle stars.  

After the war, he earned his bachelors from Roosevelt University and eventually his master’s from the University of Chicago. Black studied sociology and history and became the first tenured African American professor at the University of Chicago. In 1963, Black helped organize the “freedom trains” that took thousands of Chicagoans to march in Washington.  

In 1983, Black was part of the grassroots campaign that succeeded in electing Harold Washington as Chicago’s first Black mayor. In 1992, he helped Carol Moseley Braun become the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.  

Black died in October of 2021. 

–Lana Abdallah