Julius Lester, professor emeritus
Lester came to the University of Massachusetts in 1971 as a Professor
of Afro-American Studies. Since 1988 he has been a Professor of
Judaic Studies with adjunct appointments in the English and History
departments. He taught Afro-American History at the New School for
Social Research in New York from 1968-1970. He holds a B.A. in English
from Fisk University, 1960.
1968 Professor Lester has published 34 books - 7 nonfiction, 24
children's books, 1 book of poetry and 2 novels. Among the awards
these books have received are the Newbery Honor Medal, the Lewis
Carroll Shelf Award, National Book Award Finalist, American Library
Association Notable Book, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Boston
Globe/Horn Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Honor Book and
New York Times Outstanding Book. His books have been translated
into eight languages.
Lester has published more than two hundred essays and reviews in
such publications as New York Times Book Review, New York Times
Op-Ed Page, Boston Globe, Village Voice, The New Republic,
Moment, Forward, and Dissent.
Lester has recorded two albums of original songs (Vanguard Records),
hosted and produced a radio show on WBAI-FM in New York City for
eight years, and hosted a live television show on WNET in New York
for two years. A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, his photographs
of that movement were included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian
Institution and are part of the permanent photographic collection
at Howard University. He also served as lay religious leader of
Beth El Synagogue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for nine years.
Lester is the only faculty member to have been awarded all three
of the university's most prestigious faculty awards: The Distinguished
Teacher's Award, the Faculty Fellowship Award for Distinguished
Research and Scholarship, and the Chancellor's Medal, the University's
highest honor. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education
selected him as the Massachusetts State Professor of the Year in
Lester's biography has appeared in Who's Who in America since
1970. He has given lectures and papers at more than 100 colleges
2004 he published The Autobiography of God, his first adult novel in ten years, and Writing for Children and Other People, a literary memoir. In 2005 three books will be published: Let's Talk About Race, a picture book, The Old African, with illustrations by Jerry Pinkney, and Day of Tears, a young adult novel.