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By Michael Strautmanis

I want to tell you about my friend and mentor, Dr. Timuel Black, who passed away on Wednesday, October 13.

Remembering Timuel Black

A man who will always be an icon here on the South Side, Tim made this city and our world a better place.

Tim came to Chicago when he was just 8-months-old, when his family left the Deep South in pursuit of something better as part of the Great Migration. He began his long career community organizing as a teenager—and several decades down the road, he would give organizing tips to a rookie organizer named Barack Obama.

In the 102 years he was with us, Tim always called the South Side of Chicago his “sacred ground”—the place where he could always move ahead and break barriers. A veteran of World War II, a renowned historian, and an educator, he spent his life in pursuit of the just society that his friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, envisioned.

Timuel Black smiles to camera.

Towards the end of his life, Tim was a strong advocate for our effort to bring the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side—and we could not be more proud to have had someone like him in our ranks.

As a Chicagoan, I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done for the South Side, for Chicago, and for our country. Everyone here at the Obama Foundation will miss him dearly.

We’ll be keeping Tim and his loved ones in our thoughts in the months ahead.


P.S. You can read more about about Timuel's remarkable life here (Opens in a new tab).