Black Religion pp 115-154 | Cite as

Julius Lester: Blackness and Teshuvah

  • William David Hart


Julius Lester is a prolific black American writer. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1939 to Reverend W.D. and Julia Lester. His parents and only sibling are deceased. Julius graduated from Fisk University in 1960 on the eve of the student-led sit-in movement. As a folk singer he moved through many circles dominated by civil rights activists and activities. Eventually, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as a photographer, and became a confidant of Stokely Carmichael. Julius’ first published essay is entitled “The Angry Children of Malcolm X” (1966). He achieved notoriety with the publication of Look Out Whitey, Black Power Gon’ Get Your Mama (1968). In two autobiographies, All is Well (1976) and Lovesong: Becoming a Jew (1988), he disavowed the views expressed in the earlier book. Julius has been married twice and is the father of five children: two sons and three daughters. His second child’s name is “Malcolm Coltrane.” From 1971 to 1988, Julius was Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After a dispute with members of the Program of Afro-American Studies regarding their alleged anti-Semitism, he accepted a position in the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department where he taught until his retirement in 2003.


Black People Jewish Identity White People White Supremacy Black Skin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 7.
    C. Fluehr-Lobban, Islamic Society in Practice (Gainesville: University of Gainesville Press, 1994), 101–2.Google Scholar
  2. 28.
    E. E. Curtis, Islam in Black America (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 103–4, claims that Malcolm was not successful in integrating his religious commitments as a Muslim with his political commitments as a Pan-Africanist.Google Scholar
  3. 42.
    C. E. Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1984), 112, 118.Google Scholar
  4. 47.
    O. Davis, “Our Shining Black Prince.” A eulogy delivered at the Funeral of Malcolm X, at Faith Temple Church of God, February 27, 1965. (last accessed on December 27, 2007).Google Scholar
  5. 48.
    T. Insoll, The Archaeology of Islam (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), 176–7, 180, 183–6.Google Scholar
  6. 49.
    G. Orwell, Shooting an Elephant, and Other Essays (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1950), 171.Google Scholar
  7. 50.
    D. Chidester, Patterns of Transcendence (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1990), 206–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William David Hart 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • William David Hart

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations