Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Lerone Bennett, Jr.  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1928 in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Died: 2018 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Lerone Bennett, Jr. on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bennett moved to Chicago in 1952 when he began his work as an associate editor at Jet magazine. He lived there until his death. He received an Honorary Degree from the University of Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Lerone Bennett, Jr., was a prolific writer and social historian, who has served on the editorial staff of Ebony for over 50 years. He authored articles, poems, short stories, and over nine books on African American history and political challenges facing blacks. Bennett skillfully explored United States racial history and its struggle for equality.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
ISBN: 0874850274

Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.. 2000

A Biography of Martin Luther King Jr. 1929-1968 “An eloquent account:”— Newsday.” (Bennett) has succeeded in giving his readers an intimate look into the physical, mental, and spiritual growth of Dr. King.” — Boston Globe.

The Negro mood, and other essays

Ballantine. 1965

Works by the longtime editor of Ebony magazine. Published in paperback by Ballantine, 1965.

Black Power U S A The Human Side Of Reconstruction

Johnson Pub Co Inc. 1967

Black history in the US during the Reconstruction

Pioneers in Protest
ISBN: 0874850266

Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.. 1968

“Without being preachy or pedantic, Bennett warmly relates the conviction, the determination, the achievements-indeed-the heroism of 20 men and women who began the fight which ultimately led to the revolution taking place in America today.”-Philadelphia Bulletin.

Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America
ISBN: 0874850002

Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.. 2007

The black experience in America—starting from its origins in western Africa up to the present day—is examined in this seminal study from a prominent African American figure. The entire historical timeline of African Americans is addressed, from the Colonial period through the civil rights upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. The most recent scholarship on the geographic, social, economic, and cultural journeys of African Americans, together with vivid portraits of key black leaders, complete this comprehensive reference.

The Challenge of Blackness
ISBN: 0874850541

Johnson Pub Co Inc. 1972

Essays and speeches which develop the notion that black striving for political, economic, and social power represents a challenge to all Americans to redefine traditional white values and institutions

The Shaping of Black America: The Struggles and Triumphs of African-Americans, 1619-1990s (African American History (Penguin))
ISBN: 0140175687

Penguin Books. 1993

A developmental history of the African-American struggle for autonomy and power discusses black slaves and white indentured servants, the black founding fathers, the relationship between African-Americans and native Americans, and other issues. Reprint. 35,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

Great Moments in Black History: Wade in the Water (Oxford Geographical and Environmental Studies)
ISBN: 0874850789

Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.. 2000

Featuring a 15 dramatic episodes in black history that have provided turning points in shaping the two Americas—the black and the white—this volume reveals the complete meaning of the black tradition as summed up in the spiritual, “Wade in the Water.”


  • Carter G. Woodson Lifetime Achievement Award, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2003
  • Literature Award, Academy of Arts and Letters, 1978
  • Patron Saints Award, Society of Midland Authors, 1965
  • Book of the Year Award from Capital Press Club, 1963