This Friday, Chicago historian and activist Timuel Black will celebrate his 100th birthday. Born in Alabama on December 7, 1918, Black and his family moved to Chicago’s South Side in 1919 as part of the Great Migration.
Black’s life as a civil rights activist began after he returned from serving in World War II. In an interview with the University of Chicago, he said, “I made an emotional decision that when I returned from the Army, that most of the rest of my life would be spent trying to make where I live, and the bigger world, a place where all people could have peace and justice.”
Among his long list of accomplishments, Black brought Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at University of Chicago in 1956, he worked on a campaign to get Harold Washington elected as Chicago’s mayor, and he fought tirelessly to end segregation in Chicago’s public schools.
In this clip, Black is speaking at the Celebration of the Life of Studs Terkel held at the Chicago Cultural Center on January 30, 2009. He speaks about Terkel’s impact and how their civil rights missions aligned.