April 15, 2008 Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr. To Discuss His New Autobiography at the Library on April 29

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

“This is the straightforward and impressive memoir of a great and path-breaking American,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has said of the autobiography of Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton, Jr., United States Army (Ret.). “He [Becton] fought for his country in three wars, overcame many obstacles to reach an unprecedentedly high rank in the Army and was later the innovative head of both a university and a federal agency. His integrity has inspired many others at different stages of his life. He writes with the honesty, humor and family feeling that makes this a rewarding family story.” Becton will discuss and sign his book, “Becton: A Soldier and Public Servant” at noon on Tuesday, April 29, in LJ 119 on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book, is free and open to the public. Raised in suburban Philadelphia, after finishing high school Becton entered a segregated U.S. Army at age 18. During his 40-year career, he served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant general. Among his decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merit medals and two Purple Hearts. Following retirement, Becton joined the Reagan administration in 1984 as director of the Office of Foreign Assistance for the Agency for International Development. From 1985 to 1989, he was director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). His final civilian post was as superintendent of public schools in the District of Columbia. Becton, a resident of Springfield, Va., holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland. He has been listed many times by “Ebony Magazine” as “One of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America.” The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and resources to Congress and the American people. The Center for the Book was created in 1977 to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its program, publications and reading promotion partnership networks, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook/.


PR 08-070
ISSN 0731-3527