Black, Timuel Dixon, Jr.

Black, Timuel Dixon, Jr., 1918-2021, American social activist and community organizer, b. Birmingham, Al., Roosevelt Univ. (B.A., 1952), Univ. of Chicago (M.A., 1954). Black's family migrated north to Chicago soon after he was born. After serving in World War II, he attended college studying sociology and history, and then taught at local high schools. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he became involved in the civil rights movement in the mid-'50s, helping to organize Chicago residents for King's March on Washington (1963). He became a powerful figure in local politics on Chicago's Southside, encouraging Harold Washingtonto run for mayor in 1982, advising Rev. Jesse Jackson on his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, and training a young Barack Obama when Obama was beginning his career as a community organizer. Black opposed Illinois's use of punch card ballets primarily in minority neighborhoods during the 2000 Presidential elections, serving as plaintiff in the lawsuit Black v. McGuffage (2002) that led to their elimination. He spent his final years compiling a large oral history of the Black migration to Chicago.

See his memoir Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black (2019, with S. Klonsky); Bridges of Memory: Chicago's First Wave of Migration (2003), Bridges of Memory: Chicago's Second Wave of Migration (2008).

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