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

The program’s goal is to support City Colleges students 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 the 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.

Learning Outcomes

Fellows will:

  • Strengthen leadership, activism skills, and civic knowledge
  • Improve professional and community activism skills
  • Strengthen their social and professional networks in order to support their social justice work
  • Improve their communities and the City of Chicago through their leadership
  • Work to increase equity and justice within the City Colleges of Chicago and the City of Chicago

Selected Fellows Will Participate in:

  • Monthly fellowship workshops that include discussions with community leaders and exploration of critical issues facing Chicago, as well as activities, videos, and readings that support the development of the Fellows’ leadership skills and knowledge of Chicago history and social change movements.
  • Special learning and networking trips to leading community organizations across Chicago.
  • Civil Rights study trip to Alabama to visit Civil Rights historic sites and to study Civil Rights Movement history (trip will be between Fall and Spring semesters).
  • Mentoring and coaching from community leaders, City Colleges leadership, and the TBSF program director.

Selected Fellows Will Receive:

  • Financial assistance to cover two semesters of tuition (scholarship will be applied after financial aid award is determined)
  • A $1,000 stipend to help with living expenses while in the program.
  • Assistance with textbook fees and CTA Ventra cards during the Fellowship year.

Who can apply?

City Colleges of Chicago students who:


Are currently enrolled with six credit hours or more, and have less than 36 credit hours completed in total


Have an interest in civil rights, community activism, and being a changemaker in our communities


Can commit to the monthly and ongoing activities of the Fellowship throughout the school year

The Application Process

icon-arrow Interested students will fill out an application.
icon-arrow Students will complete the application and submit a letter of recommendation.
icon-arrow TBSF Fellows will be selected based on their application and accompanying recommendation, and finalists will be interviewed by members of the TBSF selection committee members.
icon-arrow The criteria for selection will focus on each applicant’s leadership skills and vision for improving their community, and the positive impact the TBSF program will have on the students and their community.

Questions? Contact

Nominate a Student

Do you know a City Colleges student who has an interest in civil rights, is an emerging community leader, and would be interested in being part of the inaugural Fellowship cohort? Please fill out this form and we will let that student know they have been nominated to apply!

Applications to nominate a student end April 26.

About Timuel D. Black Jr.

Originally from Alabama, Mr. Timuel Black attended Burke Elementary and DuSable High School in Chicago. Mr. Black was 23 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed which led him to serve during World War II. He would return from the war and attend Roosevelt University, later receiving a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

In 1960, Mr. Black worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he came to Chicago to protest housing issues for West Side residents. Mr. Black would go on to help organize thousands of Chicagoans to join the historic March on Washington with Dr. King.

After serving as a Chicago Public Schools teacher, Mr. Black was appointed dean of Wright College in 1969; and held several other roles at City Colleges over the next twenty years, including vice president for academic affairs at Olive-Harvey College, director and chairperson of community affairs, and a professor at Loop College which changed its name to Harold Washington College, in part due to Mr. Black’s influence and advocacy, retiring in 1989.

Mr. Black was instrumental in helping elect Chicago’s first Black Mayor, Harold Washington and the first Black woman elected as a U.S. Senator, Carol Mosely Braun. Later he consulted with then, community organizer, Barack Obama about running for the U.S. Presidency.