Tributes were poured by former colleagues, friends, admirers and others for activist, educator and historian Timuel Black, who died Wednesday at 102.
Shortly after the news of Black’s death broke, former President Barack Obama issued a statement on his behalf and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“In his 102 years,” Obama said, “Tim was a lot of things: a veteran, a historian, an author, an educator, a civil rights leader, and a humanitarian. But above all, Tim was a testament to the power of the place and how the work we do to improve a community can eventually resonate in other neighborhoods and other cities, ultimately changing the world.
“Today, Michelle and I send our thoughts to Tim Zenobia’s wife and everyone who loved and admired this truly amazing man.
Republican Bobby Rush (D-IL) says Black is “at the heart of the black community, the Chicago community, the national community and the international community”, from Nelson Mandela’s fight and the eventual election in South Africa to Obama’s historic 2008 presidential victory г.
“One of my favorite memories of Tim was his presence when he told Herbie Hancock about his relationship with Herbie’s father and saw the whiteness in Herbie Hancock’s eyes as he told the story,” Rush recalled in a statement. “Tim’s enthusiasm as an author and educator was inspiring, and his impact is immeasurable.”
MP Danny Davis (D-IL), who has known Black for more than 50 years, said in a statement: “Tim wrote the book about what it means to be an activist, scientist, researcher, politician and fully committed person. My family and I extend our condolences to his wife, Zenobia, and other family members. “
In a statement, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called Black a “great teacher and a tall tree in the forest for civil rights,” adding that he was also “a fan of Dr. King’s work and those who worked on his staff.”
“Tim accepted us as his younger siblings,” Jackson said in a statement. “We all deeply admire Tim Black.”
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina in Auburn Gresham, wrote on Twitter: “Chicago lost an icon today. TIMUEL BLACK was a historian. Activist and friend. He sought to make the world a fairer, fairer, and better place … No one knew more about the black history of Chicago than he did … Rest in power, my friend. ”
Chicago lost an icon today. TIMUEL BLACK was a historian. Activist and friend. He sought to make the world a fairer, fairer, and better place … No one knew more about the black history of Chicago than he did … Rest in power, my friend
– Mrs. Michael Pfleger (@MichaelPfleger) October 13, 2021
The Teachers’ Union of Chicago also issued a statement lamenting Black’s death and acknowledging his many contributions.
“Above all, it serves as a central pillar in the ongoing struggle for racial and economic justice in the city of Chicago and throughout the country,” the statement said. “He has been a mentor, protector and voice of hope for countless Chicagoans and people of conscience, devoting his entire life to a service that sustains the needs of many and the common good of all.”