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Julius Bernard Lester (January 27, 1939 – January 18, 2018)

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Julius Lester came to mind today because I just read the New York TImes  review of James Baldwin's recently rereleased only book for children, Little Man, Little Man.  That review linked to a review Julius Lester wrote when the book was originally published.

 

I also thought about Lester in the context of the conversation we have been having about novels written about middle aged Black men experiences. 

 

When I revisited Lester's page I discovered that the was also a prolific children's book author.  Those books were missing from the page and I added many of them (more than 20), and have not added them all.

 

This video on on his page, and I rewatched it.  In it he talks about the freedom rides in 1964, the music he performed, and the danger of traveling in Mississippi in 1964. 

 

I thought about my own experience driving through the state last week. While i was careful not to speed (I've stopped more than several times for minor traffic violations in the South the last time it cost be $700), I also know that my life was not actually in danger as it was when Lester traveled there.  I also ate in a hotel that, in my life time, did not allow Black people to dine or stay there.

 

I don't recall reading anywhere that Lester passed.  Even the recent passing of Sam Cornish, a prominent Black poet, failed to make national news or even trend on social media.  

 

 

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