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CHICAGO—The Timuel D. Black Jr. Scholarship and Fellowship (TBSF) program is inspired by the late City Colleges professor Timuel D. Black Jr’s remarkable career, his lifelong commitment to equity and justice in Chicago, and his belief in the power of community history and activism. 

“People often ask me: ‘where are the next Tim Blacks?’ Now I can say with confidence: At City Colleges of Chicago – being encouraged, educated, and standing ready to make a difference! This makes my heart glad,” said Zenobia Johnson-Black, his wife of four decades.  

“I am honored to join City Colleges in announcing the Timuel D. Black Jr. Scholarship and Fellowship Program (TBSF), which will support dozens of students seeking to excel in higher education,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

A photo of Timuel Black, right, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at a news conference, was on display at the Woodson Library in Chicago on Jan. 14, 2012. (Timuel Black)

“This initiative not only celebrates the life and legacy of  Mr. Black, one of Chicago’s greatest champions for equity, but encourages future generations to follow in his footsteps by becoming advocates for justice. Ultimately, the TBSF represents our collective commitment to our students and dedication to helping them achieve long lasting success here in our city and wherever their career takes them next.”

Timuel D. Black scholarship for Chicago City Colleges students

“Timuel D. Black was a deeply beloved public servant and educator. He is an inspiration to people across our city and country, including me, and that is why I wanted to honor Mr. Black’s memory with a fellowship that will help to cultivate generations of future Chicago civic and social justice leaders,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago.   

The scholarship and fellowship program will work to support 20 City Colleges students in its pilot year who are emerging community leaders as they complete their studies and hone their community change leadership skills, as well as their knowledge of Chicago social movements and local history.

With a commitment to social justice and racial equity, the program will uphold the values of Mr. Black and empower students to affect positive change in their communities.  

Mr. Black was a force for change throughout his life as an activist, educator, historian, and revered elder statesman and griot of Chicago’s Black community. He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he came to Chicago to protest housing issues for West Side residents and helped to organize thousands of Chicagoans to join the historic March on Washington.

He taught at Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges and was instrumental in the renaming of Loop College to Harold Washington College in honor of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Later he consulted with then community organizer Barack Obama about running for the U.S. Presidency. 

A legacy for future generations to uphold

“I’ve been inspired by his public service and Mr. Black’s work in civil rights all my life. He has inspired countless leaders to affect change from our city’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington, to former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. I am honored to be part of this work–supporting our students as they too seek to affect change— by supporting this fellowship and scholarship through my work,” said Rhonda Brown, president of the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, which will help to fund this new program.  

The deadline to apply is April 15, 2023 and applicants, in part, must be a City Colleges of Chicago student with plans to take classes in both the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters, have an interest in civil rights and community activism, and strive to be a changemaker.

Students must also commit to the many activities of the Fellowship throughout the 2023-2024 school year.

For more information, to apply, or to donate, visit  

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