Louis Lomax in an undated photo
August 16, 1922|
|Died||July 30, 1970
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
|Alma mater||Yale University
Lomax was born in Valdosta, Georgia. He attended Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, where he became editor of the student newspaper before he graduated in 1942. He pursued graduate studies at American University, where he was awarded an M.A. in 1944, and Yale University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1947.
Lomax began his journalism career at the Afro-American and the Chicago Defender. These two newspapers focused on news that interested African-American readers. In 1958, he became the first African-American television journalist when he joined WNTA-TV in New York.
In 1959, Lomax told his colleague Mike Wallace about the Nation of Islam. Lomax and Wallace produced a five-part documentary about the organization, The Hate That Hate Produced, which aired during the week of July 13, 1959. The program was the first time most white people heard about the Nation and its leader, Elijah Muhammad, as well as its charismatic spokesman, Malcolm X.
Lomax later became a freelance writer, and his articles were published in publications such as Harper's, Life Pageant, The Nation, and The New Leader. His subjects included the Civil Rights Movement, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party. In 1961, he was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his book, The Reluctant African.
Lomax was a supporter of several civil rights organizations, including the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1968, he signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Lomax died in a car accident when the brakes on his car failed near Santa Rosa, New Mexico. At the time, he was working on a documentary concerning the role played by the FBI in the death of Malcolm X. According to The Washington Post staff writer Karl Evanzz, Lomax's death may have been connected to the documentary. At the time of his death, Lomax had a 141-page FBI file.
- The Reluctant African (1960)
- The Negro Revolt (1962)
- When the Word Is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and the Black Muslim World (1963)
- Thailand: The War That Is, The War That Will Be (1967)
- To Kill a Black Man: The Shocking Parallel in the Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
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- "Wife Divorces Writer Lomax in Mexico". Jet. June 22, 1961. p. 24. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
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- "Louis Lomax Weds TV Assistant, Resigns as TV Host". Jet. March 21, 1968. p. 14. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
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- Murray, Michael D. (1999). Encyclopedia of Television News. Phoenix: Oryx Press. p. 203. ISBN 1-57356-108-8.
- Joseph, Peniel E. (2006). Waiting 'til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 21–23. ISBN 0-8050-7539-9.
- "Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards". lovethebook.com. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
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- Writers and Editors War Tax Protest". January 30, 1968. New York Post.
- "Louis E. Lomax, 1922–1970". Civil Rights Digital Library. Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- Evanzz, Karl (1992). The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 318. ISBN 1-56025-049-6.
- Evanzz. The Judas Factor. pp. xxiv, 318.
- "Freedom of Information Privacy Act". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Archived from the original on November 5, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Journalist Louis Lomax Interviews Elijah Muhammad" (Video). The Hate That Hate Produced. Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. July 1959. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "Journalist Louis Lomax Asks Malcolm About the University of Islam" (Video). The Hate That Hate Produced. Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. July 1959. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- Lomax, Louis E. (June 1, 1960). "The Negro Revolt Against 'The Negro Leaders". Harper's. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- Lomax, Louis (1963). "A Summing Up: Louis Lomax interviews Malcolm X". When the Word Is Given. TeachingAmericanHistory.org. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- Denney, Jane (December 14, 1965). "4,100 See Lomax, Buckley Debate in Gym". The Sundial. Retrieved March 28, 2009.