The Life and Times of Louis Lomax

The Art of Deliberate Disunity

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 16 illustrations Published: April 2021

Author: Thomas Aiello

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, General Interest > Biography, Letters, Memoirs, History > U.S. History

Syndicated television and radio host. Serial liar. Pioneering journalist. Convicted criminal. Close ally of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Publicity-seeking provocateur. Louis Lomax's life was a study in contradiction. In this biography, Thomas Aiello traces the complicated and fascinating arc of Lomax's life and career, showing how the contradictions, tumult, and inconsistencies that marked his life reflected those of 1960s America. Aiello takes readers from Lomax's childhood in the Deep South to his early confidence schemes to his emergence as one of the loudest and most influential voices of the civil rights movement. Regardless of what political position he happened to take at any given moment, Lomax preached “the art of deliberate disunity,” in which the path to democracy could only be achieved through a diversity of opinions. Engaging and broad in scope, The Life and Times of Louis Lomax is the definitive study of one of the civil rights era's most complicated, important, and overlooked figures.


“Thomas Aiello, in his freewheeling, unpretentious style, does justice to Louis Lomax’s inexhaustible supply of surprises. In the process, Aiello achieves a liveliness and immediacy that most historians only dream of. Aiello tirelessly tracks down facts you never heard of, leaving no room for fluff or speculation. The result is a great intellectual biography that brings to light the uncharted depths and breadths of Black America’s struggle against racism to light. Students will have a thrilling adventure story. Seasoned scholars will be shocked to learn how much they didn’t know. If they’re honest, they’ll also see that Lomax—once Black America’s most popular nonfiction writer, now unjustly forgotten—beat them to many insights and discoveries they thought were their own.” — David L. Chappell, author of Waking from the Dream

“This incisively well-written account reminds those who may have forgotten that Louis Lomax was one of the most intriguing figures of the electrifying 1960s. Lomax's analysis of Black nationalism, be it in the United States or Africa, remains informative. Thomas Aiello's illuminating interrogation of Lomax is a must-read.” — Gerald Horne, author of Fire this Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s

"An incisive, engaging study of the out-of-the-box life and outspoken journalism of a man whose character and precedent-setting work mirrored the turbulence and dramatic change of 1960s America. . . . Aiello’s detailed, intense book honors Louis Lomax’s contributions to Black journalism, to the civil rights movement, and to the ideal of a democracy that practices 'the art of deliberate disunity,' listening to, and valuing, a diversity of opinions." — Kristine Morris, Foreword


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Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Thomas Aiello is Associate Professor of History at Valdosta State University and the author of many books, including Jim Crow's Last Stand and The Grapevine of the Black South.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
1. From Privilege to Prison  7
2. The Hate That Hate Produced  24
3. The Reluctant African  40
4. The Negro Revolt  55
5. Ambitions  73
6. When the World Is Given  90
7. The Louis Lomax Show  111
8. Thailand  132
9. Branching Out  150
10. Conspiracies  167
Notes  179
Bibliography  221
Index  239
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1180-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1068-5