Words are Power: Remembering the Storyteller Julius Lester

Portrait of Julius Lester, by Keef Cross

Among the thousands of authors found in the Stuart A. Rose Library, Julius Lester (1939-2018) is a giant. An essayist, writer, folklorist, civil rights activist, and teacher, Lester’s work has been an integral part of helping African Americans maintain the oral tradition of storytelling.  Through his creative explorations into the past, we are more aware of the nuances of African diasporic history and culture.  Through his storytelling, he has added to the breadth and depth of our understanding of the interior lives of African Americans from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

By incorporating his art into his activism, in support of the movement for social justice and equality for people of African descent, Lester inspired generations to see their history and culture as meaningful and important. His fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books have won a range of awards.  Books such as those highlighted here are representative of his tremendous productivity. We are fortunate to have access to these great literary works of art.

By honoring the memory and contributions of Julius Lester, who unexpectedly passed away on January 18, 2018, we allow his insight and his words of inspiration to enrich the lives of all who come into contact with his work.

Dr. Pellom McDaniels III, Curator of African American Collections

Visit Rose Library, on Level 10 of Woodruff Library, for a display of materials by Julius Lester from our holdings.