February 5, 2007

Author, historian to help Purdue observe Black History Month

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's Black Cultural Center will celebrate Black History Month at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Feb. 7) in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall with a talk from writer and social historian Lerone Bennett Jr.

Bennett was on the editorial staff of Ebony magazine for more than 50 years before his retirement in 2005 when he was named executive editor emeritus. He has written nine books, including "Forced to Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream" and "Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America" as well as many articles, poems and short stories on African-American history and current political challenges facing blacks.

"What better way to inspire a deeper look into Black History Month than with one of the nation's premier historians," said Renee Thomas, director of the Black Cultural Center. "Mr. Bennett will give us all an opportunity for self-discovery through a look at the history of African-Americans that will help separate myth from reality."

In his career at Ebony, the Clarksdale, Miss., native has covered some of the biggest stories of the 20th century, including the March on Washington and the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. He started at Johnson Publishing Co. as an associate editor at Jet Magazine, later becoming an associate editor and senior editor at Ebony. He was named executive editor there in 1987.

Bennett graduated from Morehouse College in 1949 and did graduate work at Atlanta University. His honors include the Literature Award of the Academy of Arts and Letters, the Book of the Year Award from Capital Press Club and the Patron Saints Award from the Society of Midland Authors.

Since 1969 Purdue's Black Cultural Center has helped the university community explore the black experience in America. The BCC is nationally recognized as one of the best centers of its kind. Its new building, dedicated in 1999, houses a library, art gallery and cultural programs that provide educational resources for the entire community.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Source: Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Related Web site:
Black Cultural Center: http://www.purdue.edu/BCC/

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