Timuel Black

Timuel Black (born 7 December 1918 Birmingham, Alabama) is an American historian, author, civil rights activist, and expert in African American history in Chicago.

Timuel Black
Timuel Dixon Black, Jr.

(1918-12-07) December 7, 1918 (age 101)
EducationDuSable High School
Roosevelt University
University of Chicago
OccupationSocial worker, civil rights activist, historian
Home townChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Spouse(s)Zenobia Johnson-Black[1]


Timuel Black was born on December 7, 1918, in Birmingham, Alabama.[2] His great-grandparents were slaves and his grandparents were born as slaves and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation; his parents were sharecroppers.[3] He grew up in Chicago, where he graduated from DuSable High School in 1937.[4] He graduated from Roosevelt University, where he earned a bachelor's degree, and he earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago.[4] Black served in World War II, and he received four Battle Stars, the Croix de Guerre, and the Legion of Honour.[4]


Black began his career as a social worker.[4] During the 1960s, Black was president of the Negro American Labor Council (Chicago Chapter) and an organizer of Chicago participation in the 1963 March on Washington.[5]

Black was the named plaintiff in the lawsuit Black v. McGuffage[6]. The suit claimed that the Illinois voting system discriminated against minorities in its use of faulty punch card ballots. Deployed in black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago, the faulty ballots prevented residents from casting valid votes in the 2000 presidential election. After Black v. McGuffage, punch card ballots were eliminated and a uniform voting system was put in place.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

A book of interviews with Black about the African-American history of the South side of Chicago conducted by Susan Klonsky and edited by Bart Schultz was published in 2019. Black explained, "I'm here to personalize and transfer that history to younger people across all lines--race and gender."[8]

At the age of one hundred and one years, seven months, three weeks, and six days (as of today, 3 August 2020), Black serves on the board of Defending Rights & Dissent.[9]


  • Black, Timuel D. (2003). Bridges of Memory: Chicago's First Wave of Great Migration. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. ISBN 9780810123151. OCLC 567296988.
  • Black, Timuel D.; Klonsky, Susan (2019). Schultz, Eduard (ed.). Sacred Grounds: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black as Told to Susan Klonsky. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. ISBN 9780810139244. OCLC 1088790146.



  1. "Timuel D. Black, Jr. Papers," Chicago Public Library (link); OCLC 773740819
  2. "Timuel Black papers, 1956–1973," Chicago History Museum; OCLC 718738158

In lineEdit

  1. ^ Gettinger, Aaron. "Timuel Black honored for a life of achievement". HPHerald.com. Hyde Park Herald. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Timuel Black". The History Makers. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  3. ^ Ihejirika, Maudlyne (December 8, 2018). "Timuel Black — historian, civil rights activist, griot — reflects at age 100". Chicago Sun Times.
  4. ^ a b c d Briscoe, Tony (February 26, 2018). "Historian Timuel Black celebrates school's past". Chicago Tribune. p. 3. Retrieved August 31, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Staff Writer. "Documenting the Life of Dr. Timuel D. Black". ChiPubLib.org. Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  6. ^ Staff Writer. "Black v. McGuffage, 209 F. Supp. 2d 889 (N.D. Ill. 2002)". Court Listener. Free Law Project. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  7. ^ Staff Writer. "HISTORIAN TIMUEL BLACK'S GIFT TO CHICAGO". acluofillinois@aclu-il.org. ACLU Illinois. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  8. ^ Rockett, Darcel (February 3, 2019). "100 years of South Side history". Chicago Tribune. p. 4. Retrieved August 31, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved 1 May 2020.