NAACP Mourns Passing of Image Awardee Bebe Moore Campbell

Nov. 29, 2006

The NAACP joins with others in mourning much lauded and beloved author/journalist Bebe Moore Campbell. She was peacefully called to be with the ancestors and griots of the ages Monday (Nov. 27) in her Los Angeles home after a 9-month battle with brain cancer.

"We are truly saddened by the death of NAACP Image Award-winning author Bebe Moore Campbell," said NAACP President & CEO Bruce S. Gordon. "Our community and America have suffered a great loss. She was an important writer, social commentator and journalist who clearly addressed contemporary issues. She was also a great supporter of young black journalists and causes in the African American community."

Campbell earned the 1994 NAACP Image Award in Literature for her first novel, "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine." The L.A. Times best seller centers around the murder of a 15 year-old named Armstrong Todd. The novel follows the families of the victim, the murderers, and several minor characters from 1955 to 1985, exploring how deeply their lives were affected by the tragedy and scourge of racism. Campbell demonstrates that although Armstrong is a victim of the tragedy, other lives suffer because of racism and dysfunctional relationships.

Upon graduation from the University of Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia native became a teacher and taught elementary school in Atlanta from 1972 to 1975, quickly learning that teaching was not her life's work. Searching for more, she enrolled in a writing class taught by renowned author Toni Cade Bambara. Ultimately Campbell pursued a career in writing, successfully publishing articles and stories in publications such as Essence, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ebony, Seventeen and Black Enterprise magazines. She was a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Her essays, articles, and excerpts appear in many anthologies. She had four New York Times best sellers in her career that also include children's books. Her "Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry," published in September 2003, is written for younsters and tells the story of how a little girl copes with being reared by her mentally ill mother. Her latest book, "72 Hour Hold," and "Even with the Madness," her first play, also deal with mental illness and the family.

A public viewing and remembrance ceremonies will be held on Friday in Los Angeles at Angelus Funeral Home, located at 3875 Crenshaw Boulevard. She will be eulogized on Saturday at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 2270 South Harvard Boulevard in Los Angeles. The internment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be sent to two of Campbell's favorite charities, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill ? Urban Los Angeles and the United Negro College Fund.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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