Author Julius Lester died this past January at age 88. He was an award-winning author of books for children and adults including various retellings of the Uncle Remus tales, Little Black Sambo and To Be a Slave. Lester won the Newbery Honor award for book collaborations with Jerry Pinkney including a title about folk hero, John Henry. Julius Lester was a professor at the University of Massachusetts for over 30 years where I attended. He converted to Judaism and taught in the Judaic Studies department as well. Although I never took one of his classes, I remember him as a dynamic presence on campus. His YA book, “Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue”” describes the largest slave auction that took place over 3 days told from different points of view. It is a tragic piece of families torn apart and won the Coretta Scott King Award.
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That’s so neat that he taught at your college!