Sacred Ground is the personal memoir of famed Chicago historian Timuel Black, whose life and times from 1919 to the present capture pivotal moments in Chicago history as well as the civil rights movement in Chicago and nationally.
Timuel Black is a national treasure ... It's almost as if, after compiling two volumes of oral histories...he turned the microphone around and recorded his own amazing tale. Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black captures with amazing detail the legendary black folk around him throughout his youth ... Reading Sacred Ground isn't quite the same as reading a formal history of black Chicago, but it's a vivid supplement that gives life to a dry recitation of dates and names. Black's love for his home is palpable.
His historian’s firsthand long view of the changes in the black American experience is keen. The most intriguing parts of the memoir draw upon the shifts in how Black was treated as a black man in America over time ... He also tackles subjects that have received little exposure in historical discussion, such as the disproportionate number of black American soldiers who were falsely accused of rape by European locals during WWII ... Still, Black’s story was filtered through a second party, and that seems to have diminished his voice. The book relates events in a matter-of-fact tone, with only spotty use of illuminating details or emotional input.
His vivid memories of Chicago since the 1920s recount the rich history of the generation of African Americans whose families were part of the Great Migration from the rural south to the urban north ... He continues to be an inspiration and mentor to multiple generations of Chicagoans, and now his story can inspire others.