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Julius Lester, Civil Rights Activist And UMass Amherst Professor, Is Dead At 78

Civil rights activist and teacher Julius Lester has died. He was 78 years old.

Lester taught black and then Jewish studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for more than 30 years.

Among the many books he wrote on racism and slavery is "Day of Tears," a fictional account of a slave auction in Georgia.  

Lester was interviewed about this and other aspects of his work numerous times on New England Public Radio.

While he was born in St. Louis, he moved to New York City after college, and then to western Massachusetts.

Lester was also a photographer and musician.

In a Facebook post this month, Lester wrote about his “severe emphysema” and that he was tired.

Lester lived in Belchertown, Massachusetts, and is survived by his wife and five children.

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