A Soldier's Story: First Sergeant Lerone Robert Bennett Jr.


First Sergeant Lerone Robert Bennett Jr was born on October 17, 1928, in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His family moved to Jackson, where he would grow up, while he was young.   First Sergeant Bennett began his journalist career young and started writing part-time for The Mississippi Enterprise at twelve.

After he graduated from Lanier High School, First Sergent Bennett went to Morehouse College, where he graduated in 1949. He was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi.

He began working at Atlanta Daily World in 1949, briefly leaving in 1951/1952 to enlist in the US Army and deploy for the Korean War. First Sergeant Lerone Bennett returned to journalism and writing after the war. In 1953 he became the associate editor of Ebony magazine and, in 1958, became the magazine's executive editor. First Sergeant Bennett also taught courses at Northwestern University.

Much of First Sergeant Lerone Bennett's focus was on the African enslavement period of American history. His 1954 article "Thomas Jefferson's Negro Grandchildren" shone a light on the relationship between the Founding Father and his enslaved mistress.   This relationship was confirmed through DNA testing in 1998. First Sergeant Bennett also wrote nine books about African enslavement and American history.

His footprints have been placed on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta.

First Sergeant Lerone Robert Bennett Jr. died on February 14, 2019, and rests at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum in Chicago.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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