Civil rights chief, historian Timuel Black celebrates 102nd birthday

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CHICAGO (WLS) – Historian and civil rights activist Timuel Black witnessed and attended some of the most important moments in the world.

Monday was his 102nd birthday and an occasion to treat him like the living legend he is.

“He told our story, but he’s part of our story. He’s actually part of the story, ”said Joe Harrington.

Harrington has been friends with Black for years, and calls him an icon who fought in World War II, dating Dr. Martin Luther King campaigned for civil rights, recruited Harold Washington as mayor and looked after a young Barack Obama.

“Without COVID, we would have done something bigger,” said Harrington.

Harrington helped organize a caravan of followers that drove through Black’s Bronzeville neighborhood to wave hello and shout birthday greetings.

“Thank you,” said Black.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson paid a special visit to Black, as did many people who were Black’s students during his decades as an educator.

“I’m very honored to have known him all these years,” said Laurel Stradford.

While Black said he appreciated being honored, he was inspired by young people and challenged them to become more involved in their communities.

“You’ll find that you feel so much better because you’ve made a difference in more lives than yours,” said Black.

Black will be honored by the educational foundation that bears his name during a ceremony in February to mark the start of Black History Month.

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