Dr. Conrad Worrill, Chicago Civil Rights activist with Million Man March, National Black United Front, dead at 78

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dr. Conrad Worrill, a Chicago Civil Rights activist with the Million Man March and the National Black United Front and host on WVON, died on Wednesday, his daughter said.

"On behalf of the Worrill Family, we thank you for your prayers for our husband, father and brother, Dr. Conrad Worrill," the daughter's statement said in part.

Worrill's health had been on the decline for several months before dying Wednesday morning.

Worrill was a professor Northeastern Illinois University where he led the Center for Inner City Studies, served as chairman of the National Black United Front, championed reparations for slavery, and, in 1997, charged America with genocide against African Americans at the UN Commission on Human Rights.

"He had a deep passion for history, he believed it was important for, especially people of African descent, black people, to understand their history, understand their culture so that they could fully understand the context of not only where we are today, but how we got here," said Dr. Femi Skanes, Worrill's daughter.

Worrill was a key player in the push to elect Harold Washington in 1983, and worked for widespread observances of Kwanzaa.

"Now we have to really take it to the level of protecting the economic interests of Kwanzaa among people," he told ABC7's Evelyn Holmes.

Dr. Worrill's daughters said that while he pushed boundaries of thought, he was no radical. His value system was rooted in positivity for the African American experience, a in these days of tumult over the death of George Floyd he would be strategizing to make change that sticks.

"My dad truly loved black people, he truly loved his community, who he was, and what he talked about in terms of being part of the movement," Skanes said.

Chance The Rapper tweeted that Worrill's activism and organizing won't be forgotten and that "We need a new National United Black Front, and we're well overdue for another Million Man March!"

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Willie Wilson released a statement saying, "I extend my condolences to the Worrill family. Dr. Worrill was giant, a leader in the movement to win reparations for American descendants of slaves. In fact, he helped draft the reparations bills pending in the city council of Chicago, and the state of Illinois. His life was that of an
activist, leader, and scholar. In 1997, he travelled to Geneva, Switzerland with a delegation to formally charge the United States government with genocide and human rights violations before the Commission on Human Rights.

"Dr. Worrill, was the first African American to sing in the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra. He helped organize citizens to elect Harold Washington, the first Black Mayor of Chicago. He served as National Chairman of the National Black United Front from 1985 to 2009. Dr. Worrill was the former Director and Professor at Northeastern Illinois University's Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner Studies. His passing leaves a great chasm in the voice for justice.

"It is my hope that the issue of reparations for which he devoted a significant part of his life, will become law in the city and state. He fought against inequality, police brutality, and so many other injustices. His voice and passion for which he lived will never be forgotten. May God bless the spirit of Dr. Worrill, his family, and our country."
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