Lerone Bennett was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. While being educated in the Jackson public school system, he worked with the high school newspaper and edited The Mississippi Enterprise
, a local Black weekly paper. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta working as an editor of the student newspaper. After graduation, Bennett became a reporter and editor for the Atlanta Daily World
. In 1953, Bennett joined the Johnson Publishing Company working as the associate editor of Ebony
until he became the chief editor in 1960. Bennett wrote many articles on African American history, resulting in the title "resident historian" of Johnson Publishing Company. His most noted work, the 1962 Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America
, gives a chronological account of the African American experience in America. Bennett has also written poetry and fiction along with lecturing and teaching African American history. He has received honorary degrees from Morehouse, Lincoln University, and the University of Illinois. He was awarded the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1978. (Broadcast Date: September 10, 2001)
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