Professor Emeritus Julius Lester won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Author Award for Days of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue. Lester is Professor Emeritus of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Born in 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of a Methodist minister, Lester spent much of his childhood in the South during the 1940s and 1950s where he dealt firsthand with Southern attitudes about race and segregation.
In the mid-1960s, he became politically active in the civil rights movement and joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) where he served as head of their photo department. “I focused on documenting sights I felt certain were going to disappear,” he said. Lester’s photographs were included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution and are part of the permanent photographic collection at Howard University.