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

  • What Manner of Man, A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Johnson Publishing, 1964
  • The Negro Mood, Johnson Publishing, 1964
  • Black Power USA: The Human Side Of Reconstruction, Johnson Publishing, 1967
  • Pioneers in Protest, Johnson Publishing, 1968
  • Before the Mayflower, A History of Black America, Johnson Publishing, 1969
  • The Challenge of Blackness, Johnson Publishing, 1972
  • The Shaping of Black America: The Struggles and Triumphs of African-Americans, 1619-1990s, Penguin, 1993
  • Great Moments in Black History: Wade in the Water, Johnson Publishing, 2000
  • Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream, Johnson Publishing, 2000

Selected Titles At Your Library

What manner of man :
ISBN: 0874850274. OCLC Number:

Johnson Pub. Co.,. Chicago :. 1992.

Examines the life of the Baptist minister and civil rights leader who helped American blacks win many battles for equal rights.

Pioneers in protest /
ISBN: 0874850266. OCLC Number:

Johnson Publishing,. Chicago, Ill. :. 1969.

Before the Mayflower :
ISBN: 0874850002. OCLC Number:

Johnson Publishing Co.,. Chicago :. 2007.

Examines the history of African Americans from their African past through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars to contemporary problems and accomplishments.

The challenge of blackness.
ISBN: 0874850541. OCLC Number:

Johnson Pub. Co.,. Chicago,. 1972.

The shaping of Black America /
ISBN: 0140175687. OCLC Number:

Penguin Books,. New York :. 1993.

"What forces transformed Africans into African-Americans? How did they sustain themselves during centuries of captivity and oppression? In what way did their presence shape the attitudes--and fortunes--of white America? How did black people become a nation within a nation? And what are the prospects for that nation in the 1990s?" "These are among the questions that Lerone Bennett, Jr., addresses in this triumphant companion volume to his epochal Before the Mayflower. Where that book rendered the African-American experience chronologically, The Shaping of Black America tells its story from a developmental perspective. Its first section, "Foundations," encompasses black slaves and white indentured servants, the black founding fathers, and the relationship between African-Americans and Indians. In the second section, "Directions," Bennett traces the growth of black labor and black capital and the development of a system that unites and separates blacks and whites. The result is a bald and literate work that persuasively demonstrates its author's notion that "blacks lived a different time and a different reality in this country." Book jacket."--Jacket.

Great moments in Black history :
ISBN: 0874850789. OCLC Number:

Johnson Pub. Co.,. Chicago :. ©1992


  • 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