Activist Dr. Conrad Worrill: Black People Unite, Vote For Biden To 'Take Trump Out' In 2020 Election
Conrad Worrill, champion of black struggle, ‘ultimate teacher,’ has died at 78
Chance the Rapper paid tribute to the Chicago educator and activist, calling him a ‘legend’ and posting: ‘Your activism and organizing efforts will not [be] forgotten.’
Conrad Worrill, one of Chicago’s best-known political activists and a champion of the black struggle, died Wednesday at 78. He’d been diagnosed with cancer, friends said.
Mr. Worrill was a key figure in the election of Mayor Harold Washington and backed economic empowerment, the dismantling of educational inequities and reparations for slavery.
During his 40-year career at Northeastern Illinois University, where he was a professor, he educated people on black history and helped build the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, where he taught students and served as director.
He saw the people of the African diaspora as a pan-African source of power and pride.
“The goal of the center was to preserve the rich history of African people and to teach it from our own perspective and not the perspective of others,” he told Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell when he retired in 2016.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing: “#DrConradWorrill, my brother beloved; a civil rights leader, track star, a moving force in Mayor Harold Washington’s campaign and who led the drive for a track and field stadium on the South Side. He meant so much to so many.”
Chance the Rapper called him a “great Chicago legend” and tweeted: “Your activism and organizing efforts will not [be] forgotten.”
“He was a dad to so many in the community,” said Ken Bennett, the rapper’s father, who was an aide to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Mr. Worrill wanted African Americans to “run businesses, educate people, give back at every level,” said Cliff Rome, a friend who’s the owner of Peach’s restaurant, 4652 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
“He was a link to our history,” Rome said. “He was the ultimate teacher.”
Andrea Evans, director of the Carruthers Center on Northeastern’s Bronzeville campus, said she learned from Mr. Worrill that African American legends including W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington had visited the center at 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. He also told her how strategy was mapped out for Washington’s election, sometimes at the King Drive mansion of activists Lu and Jorja Palmer.
“The education I got from him, I never learned as a resident of Chicago, as a student at Chicago universities,” Evans said.