Media executive Abe Thompson passes the torch to the students of Kennedy King College in Chicago during his acceptance speech for  Black United Fund of Illinois’ Living Legend’s Passing the Torch Gala. Shown to his left are Henry English, President of the Black United Fund of Illinois and Robert Stark, Board Chair of BUFI.  Fox Chicago’s Darlene Hill, emcee for the event is also on stage.

Special to the Defender

Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad (pictured enter), head of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and author of The Condemnation of Blackness received the Embers Award from the Black United Fund of Illinois Sept. 29 in Chicago. Muhammad is flanked by (left) Henry English (President of the Black United Fund) and Board Chair Robert Starks, spoke at a special brunch for the Ember honorees at Norman’s Bistro Sept. 30.

In addition to its Living Legends honorees, BUFI –– for the past two years –– celebrated the emerging generation of African-American leaders who are making a difference in the fields of government, education, business, media and community service. In 2011, the organization celebrated female leaders dubbed “Flames.” This year was designated “The Year of the Man” and the young male leaders were named Embers because of the power of the ember to rekindle and spread leadership within the community.

Also recognized as Embers were Robert ‘Scoop’ Jackson (sports journalist and ESPN 2 contributor); Dr. Garrard McClendon (Emmy Award-winning talk show host); Kendall Moore (host of the Kendall Moore Show on WVON-AM/1690 and noted AIDS activist); Cliff Rome (award-winning chef, entrepreneur and owner of the Parkway Ballroom and Rome’s Joy Catering); Kurt Summers (chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle); Sharif Walker (regional director After School Matters); and Carl West, (founder of TruthBTold News Service).

Muhammad, a native of Chicago and a great grandson of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was unanimously chosen by the Schomburg’s board to lead the organization a year ago.


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