The Chicago History Museum joins the chorus of voices expressing our great sense of loss with the passing of historian, teacher, mentor, author, and civil rights leader Timuel Black. Like so many who have worked to understand the full and complex history of Chicago and its diverse communities, the Museum benefited greatly from our close relationship and regular contact with Tim. A recipient of the Museum’s prestigious John Hope Franklin Making History Award for Distinction in Historical Scholarship and the namesake of the Chicago Metro History Fair’s Timuel Black Teacher of Excellence Award, Tim helped guide the Museum as we sought to build our collection in order to share the stories of a wider range of communities and people. His books, Bridges of Memory and Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black, provided new and profound perspectives on the Black experience in Chicago.
Tim’s positive attitude and generosity was legendary, and our staff, past and present, benefited from his knowledge, insights, creativity, and seemingly boundless energy. He made a donation of his papers to the Museum in 1975, which are typically available to researchers in the Abakanowicz Research Center.*
The Museum plans to develop a feature on Tim and his legacy to be published in a future issue of Chicago History magazine.
*The Russell L. Lewis Jr Research Collections Facility is currently being renovated. This facility houses the Museum’s 23,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts. Archives, manuscripts, and maps with the exception of some small collections, are unavailable to researchers through early 2022