The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Lerone Bennett

Share on Social Media

Information about Lerone Bennett

Profile image of Lerone Bennett

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Magazine Editor
Social Historian
Historian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Quote:
Never give up.

Birthplace

Born:
10/17/1928
Birth Location:
Clarksdale, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Magazine Editor
Social Historian
Historian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Quote:
Never give up.

Birthplace

Born:
10/17/1928
Birth Location:
Clarksdale
See how Lerone Bennett is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Historian Lerone Bennett served as the executive editor of Ebony for almost forty years. His written work deftly explored the history of race relations in the United States as well as the current environment in which African Americans strive for equality. Bennett was born on October 17, 1928, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, to Lerone and Alma Reed Bennett. When Bennett was young, his family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, and it was here, while attending Jackson's public schools, that Bennett's interest in journalism was initiated.

Bennett attended Morehouse College, earning a B.A. in 1949. He always considered Morehouse as the center of his academic development. After graduating, Bennett formally entered the world of journalism as a reporter for the now defunct Atlanta Daily World. He became the city editor for the magazine and worked there until 1953, when he began his work as an associate editor at Jet magazine in Chicago, Illinois. In 1954, Bennett became an associate editor at Ebony and he was promoted to senior editor of the magazine in 1958. Since then, his comprehensive articles became one of the magazine's literary hallmarks.

A series of articles originally published in Ebony resulted in Bennett's first book, a seminal piece of work, Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America, 1619-1962. The book, with its comprehensive examination of the history of African Americans in the United States, gave Bennett the reputation of a first-class popular historian. In his eight subsequent books, Bennett continued to document the historical forces shaping the Black experience in the United States. His other works included: What Manner of Man?, Pioneers In Protest and The Shaping of Black America.

Bennett received numerous awards such as the Literature Award of the Academy of Arts and Letters, Book of the Year Award from Capital Press Club and the Patron Saints Award from the Society of Midland Authors. He served as advisor and consultant to several national organizations and commissions, including the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. Bennett's articles, short stories and poems have been translated into five languages.

Bennett passed away on February 14, 2018 at age 89.

See how Lerone Bennett is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lerone Bennett interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lerone Bennett lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lerone Bennett talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lerone Bennett talks briefly about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lerone Bennett remembers his earliest memories and the sensorial aspects from his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lerone Bennett describes his passion for reading as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lerone Bennett shares stories about his mother's influence on his education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lerone Bennett comments on his education in the segregated South
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lerone Bennett recalls the oppressive, violent racism in Mississippi during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lerone Bennett remembers racist incidents he saw while playing in a band as a teenager in Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lerone Bennett describes his the neighborhood of his youth in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lerone Bennett talks about his family's musical talent
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lerone Bennett discusses his study of Abraham Lincoln
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lerone Bennett recalls his favorite teachers and his decision to go to Morehouse College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lerone Bennett recalls his first impressions of Atlanta and Morehouse College in 1945
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lerone Bennett remembers Morehouse College president, Benjamin E. Mays
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lerone Bennett discusses his career aspirations and his foray into journalism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lerone Bennett talks about the journalistic issues covered by the 'Atlanta Daily World' in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lerone Bennett talks about John H. Johnson's recruitment of black journalistic talent for his magazines
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lerone Bennett analyzes John H. Johnson's visionary creation of a publishing empire
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lerone Bennett talks about his exciting early years at 'Ebony' magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lerone Bennett discusses his history series, 'Before the Mayflower'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lerone Bennett talks about how 'Before the Mayflower' was received by the general public
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lerone Bennett explains the choice of subject matter in his book 'Before the Mayflower'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lerone Bennett talks about how his books have been received by historical scholars
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lerone Bennett discusses 'What Manner of Man' and comments on the 'Negro Digest'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lerone Bennett compares public response to his 1968 article and 2000 book on Abraham Lincoln's racism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lerone Bennett talks about his writings in relation to his work at 'Ebony' magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lerone Bennett talks about the difficulty in writing his book, 'Forced Into Glory'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lerone Bennett confronts his detractors regarding Abraham Lincoln
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lerone Bennett criticizes American scholarship for supporting the status quo
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lerone Bennett contrasts Lincoln's wish to deport blacks with Garvey and Theodor Herzl's calls for immigration of their people
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lerone Bennett discusses authors Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and racism in America today
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lerone Bennett comments on reparations for slavery, Part 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lerone Bennett comments on reparations for slavery, Part 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lerone Bennett discusses his hopes and concerns for African Americans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lerone Bennett talks about changes in the African American community and its youth
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lerone Bennett details his plans for the future
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lerone Bennett discusses lessons he would like to pass on to youth
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lerone Bennett talks about what he hopes his legacy might be