E. James WestAug 30, 2022
Our Kind of Historian
The Work and Activism of Lerone Bennett Jr.
University of Massachusetts Press 2022
Journalist, activist, popular historian, and public intellectual, Lerone Bennett Jr. left an indelible mark on twentieth-century American history and culture. Rooted in his role as senior editor of Ebony magazine, but stretching far beyond the boundaries of the Johnson Publishing headquarters in Chicago, Bennett’s work and activism positioned him as a prominent advocate for Black America and a scholar whose writing reached an unparalleled number of African American readers.
This critical biography—the first in-depth study of Bennett’s life—travels with him from his childhood experiences in Jim Crow Mississippi and his time at Morehouse College in Atlanta to his later participation in a dizzying range of Black intellectual and activist endeavors. Drawing extensively on Bennett’s previously inaccessible archival collections at Emory University and Chicago State, as well as interviews with close relatives, colleagues, and confidantes, Our Kind of Historian: The Work and Activism of Lerone Bennett Jr. (U Massachusetts Press, 2022) celebrates his enormous influence within and unique connection to African American communities across more than half a century of struggle.
Hettie V. Williams Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University where she teaches courses in African American history and U.S. history.