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Ancestral Collage: Dr. Timuel D. Black. Jr

By Dr. Gloria J. Latimore- Peace 

Presented by Omni Virtual University

I was prompted to write these introductory remarks by the various "tributes" being paid to our beloved Timuel D. Black, Jr who had joined the Ancestors. Each of the TV renderings that I viewed attempted to summarize his "life story" via excerpts of edited interviews with him which they customized to suit their premeditated objectives. Dr. Black reiterates the story, told to him by his father, of a Black man who was first lynched, then burned, and whose bones were sold for souvenirs afterward. However, to let the Media tell it, it was not until he was shipped to Europe as a member of the armed services- and encountered the place where the victims of the Holocaust were "systematically burned to death"- that his desire "to make the world a better place" took hold. This appears to me to be a deliberate misinterpretation- not only of the facts but also of the stories he, himself, told about his own life: 

His father was a race man who took him to see The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey; His parents- and countless other Black families- left the South to escape its terror and migrated to Chicago despite the fact that there was a bloody [white]"race riot" going on there at that time. He, himself, served America in a segregated military during World War II, where they were forced to submit to all forms of slander and abuse. There were even reports of soldiers-in uniform- being lynched in Chicago during the Red Summer of 1919. Yet, we are expected to believe that these real-life experiences had no impact on his perspective - that his consciousness lay dormant until he saw the Internment camp. And what is even more incredible, that viewing Buchenwald resulted in only a generalized determination "to make the world a better place." 

One could easily get the notion- from the Media and other American institutions- that only the Founding Fathers concerned themselves with Liberty and Justice. Reportedly, the interests of the rest of us, especially Black and poor people, is just that the world is an undefined "better place." Freedom, Justice, and Liberation from Oppression have always been and will forever remain the goals of CONSCIOUS Black People and People of color- especially for those of us with whom Timuel Black worked in Chicago Independent politics: Brenetta Howell Barrett; Luster Jackson; Bennett J. Johnson, myself, Gloria J. Carter (Latimore-Peace) and others- most notably our Ancestors:

  • The Honorable Congressman Agustus "Gus" Savage

  • Atty. Lemuel Bentley

  • Albert Janney

  • Lucy "Jean" Lewis

  • Olavenia Jackson

  • The Honorable Judge James Walton;

  • Atty. Lawrence E. Kennon

  • Author Cromwell Gilbert

  • Dr. Margaret T.G Burroughs

  • The Honorable Mayor Harold Washington, et al.

For Dr. Timuel D. Black, Jr. working for "Freedom, Justice and Liberation from Oppression" meant" doing the best [he] could every day". 

A song recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips has a line in it that begins," If anyone should ever write my life story…"[1]. If anyone should ever write [your] life story, you'd better pray that if anyone should ever write [ your] life story, it will be written by someone whose life and history was intertwined with yours and who shared your perspective. Otherwise, falsehoods may be inserted, "between each line of pain and glory," that may turn facts into fiction and result in the perpetuation of the "character assassination"- which continues to be among the worst things that "ever happened to [you]" and to your people. The struggle continues. 


Subject: Celebration of the Birth and Life of Timuel Dixon Black, Jr

Dear Friend, 

You are cordially invited to attend the Celebration of the Birth of Timuel Dixon Black, Jr. on Thursday, December 7th, 2023, at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago | 5650 S Woodlawn Ave. 

RSVP at the link below:

 We are requesting a donation of $250 per person for the 5pm VIP reception. The program which will begin at 6:30pm is free of charge. All proceeds go to support The Timuel D. Black Education Foundation, The Jazz Institute of Chicago, and Uniting Voices.

(We accept donations in any amount.)😊

Seating is limited, so I encourage you to register today. 


[1] "The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" by Jim Weatherly 

Recommended Readings:

Dr. Timuel D. Black, Jr.: Bridges of Memory: Chicago's First Wave of Black Migration. Bridges of Memory, Volume 2: Chicago's Second Generation of Black Migration, An Oral History. Writers in the Library

Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black: as told to Susan Klonski and edited by Bart Shultz. Dempsey J. Travis. An Autobiography of Black Politics. 

Recommended Viewing

"History According to  Black", Featuring: Ancestor Dr Timuel D. Black,Jr.

"Black Political Empowerment: A Reality Check" Featuring: Ancestor Dr. Timuel D. Black, Jr. and Prof. Robert T. Starks

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