Conrad Worrill, Prominent Black Scholar and Activist From Chicago, Dies

Conrad Worrill was a writer, educator, founding member of the National Black United Front and former host of WVON program "On Target"

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Influential black activist and scholar Dr. Conrad Worrill has died at the age of 78, his family announced Wednesday.

Worrill's daughter confirmed his passing on WVON radio Wednesday morning.

"My family... to say we're heartbroken I don't think can do it justice," Dr. Femi Skanes said.

Worrill was a writer, educator, founding member of the National Black United Front and former host of WVON program "On Target." He served as National Chairman of the National Black United Front from 1985 to 2009.

"Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his wife Mrs. Talibah Worrill, his children, his brother, his grand-children and large extended family," the NBUF wrote on Facebook.

Worrill was an activist and scholar whose goal was to advance the cause and concept of African independence and self-determination both in the United States and internationally.

"As a scholar/activist Chairman Emeritus Dr. Worrill placed a meticulous focus on organizing African people, never too big to do the 'little things' passing out flyers, setting up chairs and the like. While we believe in the collective, it is correct to say that more than other single people he is the reason NBUF has lasted for 41 years," the group wrote.

Chance the Rapper said his "organizing efforts will not [be] forgotten."

In a statement published to NBC Chicago's website in 2010 on the "real meaning of education for African American people," Worrill wrote "we are still challenged today to create an education climate that inspires African youth in America to understand that the purpose of education is to develop the skills and historical understanding of the past as it relates to the present and future in preparation for working for self and the liberation of African people."

"This is the challenge of the twenty-first-century— to defeat the one hundred year tradition established by white educational leaders who created curricula for Africans in America designed to prepare them to work for white folks," the statement read.

His words, and his passing, come at a pivotal moment in America as outrage, unrest and demand for justice in the killings of black men by police - particularly the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis - spark nationwide protests.

Worrill taught at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where he was the coordinator and professor of inner-city studies education. While organizing in 1983 to elect Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, Worrill co-founded the Task Force for Black Political Empowerment. 

Skanes said arrangements for her father will be announced in the coming days.

"It feels a little bit surreal right now," she said on WVON Wednesday.

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