Former Ebony & JET Editor, Lerone Bennett Jr, Dies At 89

(Photo credit: NPR)

Longtime Ebony and Jet editor Lerone Bennett Jr. has died. He was 89.

Bennett moved to Chicago from Atlanta to become “Jet” magazine’s editor in 1951, about a year after it was founded.

He moved on to its sister publication “Ebony” two years later, becoming the executive editor there in 1958.

Bennett later became known as an author and historian, publishing numerous books on the African-American experience. He was the author of Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America, 1619-1962 and Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, tweeted on Wednesday that Bennett was and one of the most important voices in the 1960s.

“His was a pen that mattered,” Jackson wrote, adding that when he was editor of Ebony, it was “the most-read voice of the freedom struggle” and that Bennett’s “impact will long be felt and remembered.”

Bennett died of complications from vascular dementia, a condition that causes memory loss in older adults, particularly in those at higher risk of stroke due to obesity or diabetes.

In it’s early stages, the condition causes cognitive difficulty with reasoning and judgment. In later stages, memory is affected.

Because it’s not as common as Alzheimer’s Disease, many people don’t suspect vascular dementia when forgetfulness becomes problematic. It’s also difficult to diagnose so it’s difficult to know exactly how many people suffer from vascular dementia. Current estimates attribute 15% to 20% of dementia cases in older adults to vascular dementia.

Compared to Alzheimer’s disease, which happens when the brain’s nerve cells break down, vascular dementia happens when part of the brain doesn’t get enough blood carrying the oxygen and nutrients it needs.

Over time, this took the life of the beloved Bennett, but he saw and did a lot while his time here.

Mr. Bennett spoke of how lucky he was to be a witness to history at the March on Washington in 1963. “For one moment in time, the hustler from Harlem, the intellectual from Harlem, the money man from Chicago, for one moment in time, for one moment in time, they were one…that was an attempt to capture that, the joy of a great triumph.”

(Photo credit: Twitter)

After 1960s protests at Northwestern University to advance black-history studies, the university brought Mr. Bennett…