Civil rights leader Timuel Black died Wednesday at the age of 102, according to a statement from the University of Chicago where he obtained a master’s degree in 1954.
“He marched with Martin Luther King Jr., campaigned for Chicago mayor Harold Washington, mentored a young Barack Obama and helped bring the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side,” the university said of the civil rights leader in a statement.
Black also helped end segregation in the Chicago Public Schools district through his work as an educator and administrator, the university said.
Black is survived by his daughter Ermetra and his wife Zenobia, the university said. He was preceded in death by his sons Timuel Kerrigan Black and Anthony Said Johnson, according to the university.
“I just can’t imagine life without him. He’s been so supportive and has been my protector, my confidante. I miss him already,” Zenobia Johnson-Black, Black’s wife, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Former President Barack Obama remembered Black as an “icon.”
“Over his 102 years, Tim was many things: a veteran, historian, author, educator, civil rights leader, and humanitarian. Michelle and I send our thoughts to his family, and everyone who loved him,” Obama said in a post on Twitter.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Black “wrote history; he witnessed history; and he willed history into being through actions large and small.”
“May Chicago’s beloved son rest in peace,” he added.
Memorial service plans for Black are pending.
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