CHICAGO (WLS) — It’s the celebration of a legacy, as students become a part of the first cohort of the Dr. Timuel D. Black Jr. Scholarship and Fellowship Program.

“He didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the way. He made a difference in Chicago,” said Liz-Enne De Beauville-Jones, a Dr. Timuel D. Black scholar.

The new City Colleges of Chicago program was created and named for the historian, civil rights activist, author and educator to support the emergence of Chicago leaders.

“This is our inaugural event,” said Rhonda Brown, with the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation.

Black collaborated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s and played a pivotal role in the election of Harold Washington.

“So we wanted to take that legacy and really infuse a lot of mentorship, a lot of activism and a very diverse group of, you know, people,” Timuel D. Black Program Director Geovonnie Bates said.

SEE MORE: Timuel Black, Chicago historian and civil rights leader, dead at 102

Also a retired City Colleges of Chicago professor and a former Chicago Public Schools teacher, Black had a passion for sharing the importance of the historical contributions of African Americans with young people.

He died in 2021 at the age of 102.

“He would be very proud that his legacy is continuing. I’m very proud his legacy is continuing,” Black’s widow Zenobia Johnson said.

Each of the 12 fellows in the year-long program were awarded a $1,000 stipend and a one-year tuition credit.

ABC7 Chicago’s political analyst Laura Washington gave the keynote address.

At Thursday’s celebratory luncheon, supporters learned about this new program, which includes scholars touring historical sites in Black’s native Alabama.

But for 21-year-old Juses Guerrero, the honor is a chance to hopefully make a difference in his community and the world.

“Ultimately, the importance is we’re human. We can all interact with each other,” Guerrero said.

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