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Wed, 10.17.1928

Lerone Bennett Jr., Author, and Historian born

Lerone Bennett Jr.

Lerone Bennett, Jr. was born on this date in 1928. He was a Black author, historian, and journalist.

He was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the son of Lerone and Alma (Reed) Bennett. He and his family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he attended public schools. Bennett graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. That same year, Bennett attended Atlanta University for graduate study. Bennett became a journalist for the Atlanta Daily World in 1949, continuing until 1953, and he worked as city editor for JET magazine from 1952-53.

In 1953, he became associate editor for Ebony magazine, serving as executive editor. Bennett married Gloria Sylvester in 1956. They met while working together at JET. The couple had four children together: Alma Joy, Constance, Courtney, and Lerone III (1960–2013).

As an author, Bennett moves between the worlds of research and reporting, wrestling with the history of race relations in the United States and the present political surroundings in which Blacks continue to strive for equal opportunity.  In his writings, Bennett establishes himself as a shrewd observer of society's racial injustices, articulating how people of color can overcome bigotry.

Bennett Jr. was one of Mississippi’s most successful black writers of the twentieth century. His writing career includes "Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America, 1619-1966," "The Negro Mood," "What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.," "Confrontation: Black and White," "Black Power U.S.A.," "The Human Side of Reconstruction, 1867-1877," "Pioneers in Protest," "The Challenge of Blackness," and "Great Moments in Black History."

Lerone Bennett also assisted with the movie "Amistad" and wrote about Abraham Lincoln and American slavery.   A longtime resident of Kenwood, Chicago, Bennett died of natural causes at his home on 14 February 2018, aged 89.

To be a Writer




Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History
Volume 1, ISBN #0-02-897345-3, Pg 175
Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West

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