Louis E. Burnham

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Louis E. Burnham

Louis Everett Burnham (September 29, 1915 – February 12, 1960) was an African-American civil rights activist and journalist.


  • From one end of the South to the other law and order have broken down. A public climate has been created in which a Negro’s life is worth no more than a White man’s whim.

Quotes about Louis E. Burnham[edit]

  • He had a mordant wit, always saw the humorous side to keep us all 'cracked up,' and could recite poetry by the yard. At the same time, he had an ability to put words down on paper with a speed and precision... He had a far-above-average ability to marshal his facts through well-documented research and translate his material into well-written and convincing prose.
  • [An] altogether commanding personality... His voice was very deep and his language struck my senses immediately with its profound literacy, constantly punctuated by deliberate and loving poetic lapses into the beloved color of the speech of the masses of our people... The things he taught me were great things: that all racism was rotten, White or Black, that [emphasis in the original] everything is political; that people tend to be indescribably beautiful and uproariously funny.”
  • Above all none can forget his honesty and utter sacrifice.
    • Bois, W. E. B. (1985). "Louis Burnham (28 April 1960)". in Aptheker, Herbert. Against racism : unpublished essays, papers, addresses, 1887-1961. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 300. ISBN 9780870231346.  From Du Bois' eulogy at Burnham's memorial service.
  • [Burnham was] one of the loveliest human beings I've ever met... A rich cultural apostle who swam in music, poetry, and literature... always pleasant company... a great facility to move in all kinds of circles... a most eloquent public speaker [who] could engage an audience at will.
  • A man touched with grace, easy to be with and reassuring. In his writings, lectures, and conversation, he never dissembled. His seriousness, manifest in his painstakingly careful speech, was leavened by high humor. The love that people bore him was demonstrated in his hosts of friends—from the teenagers on his Brooklyn block, through the bearded youngsters who came to him for counsel, to the patrician figure of Du Bois, his mentor and his colleague.
  • He led primarily by virtue of the power of attraction of his example... He left his imprint on a whole generation of Southerners... He was a hero in the practical struggles for equality and justice in the Deep South who had marched often in the shadow of death in Willie McGhee country in Mississippi, and under the guns of the police chief “Bull” Conner in Birmingham, Alabama... He was a talented writer and an incomparable orator. He was a fine scholar and an inspiring organizer of social action.
  • Even today, you know, when I’m kind of in deep middle age, older people will come up to me who remember my father and — who just remember. He had a lot of grace, and was a very welcoming person, and he’s remembered in that way.
    • Ross, Loretta J.. Linda Burnham. Smith College. Retrieved on 13 November 2020.

External links[edit]

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