BRONZEVILLE — In his 94 years, historian and civil rights activist Timuel Black never had a week like this.
"This has been a busy week for me. I was honored Friday with the Champion of Freedom Award at city's Annual Interfaith Breakfast with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and now I am being given my very own street," Black said as he fought back tears. "It is always good to be given your 'roses' while you can smell them. And seeing all these people here today smells so good."
A crowd of about 100 people gathered Saturday at the intersection of 50th and State streets as Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) unveiled the honorary Dr. Timuel Black St. sign.
"This is something long overdue for a man who has done so much for this community and all of Chicago," said Dowell. "So let us pause today to pay homage to a man worthy of praise and so much more. A man I can truly call my friend and someone who deserves nothing less than the very best this world has to offer."
Black's wife of 33 years agreed.
"Good things come to good people and my husband is one of the best," said Zenobia Black. "We want to thank everyone for coming out to celebrate this special day with us. It means so much to see so many people here and to know Tim is loved by all of you."
The location of the street naming was befitting for Black, said Dowell, considering he is an alumnus of DuSable High School, which sits at the intersection, and whose classmates included the late entertainer Nate King Cole and the late John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines.
So from now on, Black said, no matter where he goes, he'll remember one special place.
"This is sacared ground we are standing on at 50th and State Street. When students stand here waiting for a ride they can tell their ride to pick them up at 50th and Timuel Black Street," he said. "When you have a street named after you, it means you will forever be remembered for the good things you did in your life, and in my lifetime I have done a lot."