Timuel Black — historian and civil rights activist — reflects on his lifeHistorians in the News
tags: civil rights, Timuel Black
He walks a little slower, but on his 100th birthday, Timuel Black — historian, author and political and civil rights activist — is still independent, arriving unescorted.
Delivered by his driver, the elder statesman and griot of Chicago’s black community settles comfortably into his chair Friday and looks back on a life that started in Birmingham, Alabama a century ago.
“I consider Dec. 7, 1918 a famous day in history,” quips Black, the son of sharecroppers and grandson of slaves, who still wields the sharp lecturing tone of a lifelong educator.
“My mother and father were children of former slaves, my great-grandparents, products of the Emancipation Proclamation,” Black begins.
“I came up in a time when African-American men — women too — were being lynched, the racial segregation so terrible, people were fleeing to escape the terrorism. There were two waves of Great Migrations,” said Black, a noted expert on the subject. ...
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