Timuel Black remembered by family, friends, admirers at Chicago wake

Private funeral for Timuel Black will be held Friday

Leah Hope Image
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Chicago wake for Timuel Black attended by family, friends, admirers
Historian and activist Timuel Black was remembered by friends and family at a wake on Chicago's South Side Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Friends and admirers paid respect to Timuel Black at his wake in Chicago's Grand Crossing neighborhood Thursday afternoon. The Chicago activist, historian and educator died last week at age 102.

"The love that the community has for my husband is very touching," said his wife, Zenobia Black.

RELATED | Activist, historian Timuel Black looks back at the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

His wife was by his side for four decades, and with her support, he was able to continue his work in his later years.

"Forty years and I miss him so much," she said.

Timuel Black was a civil rights activist, scholar, historian, teacher, and world-changer who leaves behind a legacy of fighting for what's right, no matter what.

Black was a witness to key moments in modern history. His family was part of the Great Migration north, and after experiencing the sting of racism on Chicago's South Side, he committed his life to calling out and rectifying injustices, always with the sage perspective of history.

"People went to him for advice and he always gave the right advice, and just a beautiful person and will be so missed in so many areas," family friend Melody McDowell said.

"A person you needed to stop by and talk before you did anything, including President Barack Obama," WVON radio host Pam Morris-Walton said.

A close personal friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Timuel Black lead the charge to elect Harold Washington as Chicago's first black mayor.

On the back of her husband's prayer card, Zenobia Black chose a quote from Mahatma Gandhi.

"'The future depends on what we do today,' and I want everyone to know that and strive to make this world, as he would say, a better place," she said.

RELATED | Chicago civil rights leader Timuel Black shares lessons from Spanish flu for COVID-19 pandemic

A private funeral will be held Friday at 11:00 a.m. and will be live streamed. On Dec. 5, there will be a public memorial at Rockefeller Chapel, the same church which hosted Dr. King at Black's invitation in 1956.

There will also be a public memorial service in December at the University of Chicago.