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The H3O/Art of Life Blog

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Ancestral Collage: Dr. Timuel D. Black. Jr., Part I

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

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 joined the Ancestors in mid-October. 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]. 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 as a member of the armed services he was shipped to Europe, where he 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". To paraphrase our earlier point, "If anyone should ever write [your] life story, you'd better pray that 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.

You are invited to view below "Black Political Empowerment: A Reality Check": Featuring: Ancestor Dr. Timuel D. Black, Jr. and Prof. Robert T. Starks.

Blognotes [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 "Summer in Chicago: Winter in America" Featuring: Barbara Allen "Slavery: From the Label to the Fable", Featuring: Hunter Havlin Adams, III Blog Playlist "Winter in America" by Ancestor Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson

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