Michelle Buckley

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Final Chapter

Sadly, New York Times best-selling author Bebe Moore Campbell made her final transition on Monday, November 27th. I've always thought of her as an author whose works delievered a message. And as an author, she's always been an inspiration of mine, ever since I read her first two books in the early 1990s “Brothers and Sisters” and “Your Blues Ain't Like Mine”. One of her first novels, “Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine,” which was inspired by the murder of Emmett Till, spanned a 40-year period and dealt with race in the United States. She followed that book with “Brothers and Sisters,” which was a contemporary story that focused on race relations in the corporate world after the 1992 Los Angeles riot. (Along with Terry McMillan's early works, “Brothers and Sisters” was one of the first books I read that inspired me to think, wow -- I want to be and really CAN BE a writer!)

I remember meeting Bebe Moore Campbell for the first time like it was yesterday. I was attending my first Book Expo in 2005 and I remember standing in front of her as she signed my copy of her best-seller 72 Hour Hold. We chatted briefly about her actress daughter Maia and I remember being struck by how graceful and beautiful she was. She had such a calming presence and demeonor. Later that evening, Blackboard Magazine had a reception/award event and she got up and spoke so eloquently and passionately about mental illness within the black community. That evening, as always, she was the picture of grace, health and beauty. What a loss to the literary world. Please join me in prayer for this beautiful spirit, along with friends, family and fans around the world.

Visit Tayari's Blog and Inquirer article for beautiful tributes in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell.

To learn more about this amazing literary star who was a trailblazer for black female authors like me, please visit Bebe Moore Campbell's website.


“Writer Fought Valiantly to the End in Battle Against Cancer”

Washington, DC (Monday, Nov. 27.)– Today at 12:15 a.m. PST, internationally acclaimed best selling author, writer, and mental advocate, Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon died peacefully at her home in Los Angeles due to complications related to brain cancer. Campbell was diagnosed with a neurological condition in late February by world renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black who led her medical team.

“My wife was a phenomenal woman who did it her way,” said husband Ellis Gordon Jr. “She loved her family and her career as a writer. We enjoyed life together as a team and we will miss her immensely and will love her forever.”

An only child, Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon was born February 18, 1950 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to Doris Moore and the late George L. P. Moore. She was educated in the Philadelphia Public Schools where she graduated by Philadelphia High School for Girls. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh 1971 and was appointed an Alumni Trustee of the University by Chancellor Mark Nordenberg on June 24, 2005.

Upon graduation from the University of Pittsburgh, Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell became a teacher and taught elementary school in Atlanta Georgia from 1972 – 1975. Bebe quickly learned that teaching was not her life’s work. Searching for more, she enrolled in a writing class taught by renowned author Toni Cade Bambara.

Eventually, Campbell left teaching and pursued a career in writing, submitting articles and stories to periodicals such as Essence, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ebony, Seventeen Magazine, and Black Enterprise Magazine.

Bebe’s career as a writer began to blossom, but not without the growing pains that young writers often experience. Her determined spirit and passion for the craft kept her going and she became a well-known journalist, writing articles for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, as well as other publications. She became a regular commentator for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition".

Bebe Moore Campbell is a successful author of four New York Times bestsellers: “Brothers and Sisters,” “Singing in the Come Back Choir,” “What You Owe Me,” and “72 Hour Hold.” She is also the author of LA Times best seller and New York Times notable book of the year, “Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine” for which she won an NAACP Image Award for literature.

Bebe’s latest research and writing interests in mental health was motivated by a loved one who is struggling with mental illness. It was the catalyst for her first children's book, “Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry,” which was published in September 2003. This book won the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Outstanding Literature Award for 2003. Following her children’s book, Campbell wrote best seller, “72 Hour Hold” which is a fictional story about a mother trying to cope with her daughter’s bi-polar disorder.

As a result of her deep passion and concern for those with mental illness, Bebe has become an advocate for mental illness and she is a founding member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) - Inglewood, which is now, NAMI Urban Los Angeles. She is also a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

During her illness, Bebe did not stop writing. She wrote for as long as she could. This past September 2006, her latest children’s book was released, “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” Early next year, another one of her children’s book will be released entitled, “I’m So Hungry.”

Bebe received numerous awards in her lifetime, including a National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Literature Award (1978), the 1994 NAACP Image Award for Literature, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Grant (1980), and the University of Pittsburgh's Distinguished Alumni Award.

Earlier this year, Bebe was faced with a health challenge, which was perhaps one of her greatest of her life. She was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was encouraged by the many expressions of love and concerns from friends and supporters around the country, who gave her a special tribute in September of this year.

Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon leaves to mourn her passing, her husband of 22 years Ellis Gordon, Jr. (Los Angeles), her mother Doris Moore (Los Angeles), her two children, daughter Maia Campbell (Los Angeles), and son, Ellis Gordon, III (Mitchellville, Maryland), one son-in-law, Elias Gutierrez (Los Angeles), one daughter-in-law, Monica Gordon (Mitchellville, Maryland), two granddaughters, Elizabeth Elisha Gutierrez and Zakariya Gordon and a host of other relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be sent to two of her favorite charities: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – Urban Los Angeles and The United Negro College Fund.

Selected Works by Bebe Moore Campbell include:

·I'm So Hungry (proposed 2007)
·Stomping at the Savoy (2006)
·72 Hour Hold (2005)
·Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (2003)
·What You Owe Me (2001)
·Singing in the Comeback Choir (1998)
·Brothers and Sisters (1994)
·Your Blues Ain't Like Mine (1992)
·Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad (1990)
·Successful Women, Angry Men: Backlash in the Two-Career Marriage (1986)

·"The Boy in the River," Time, 153 8 March 1999: 35.
·"Coming Together: Can We See Beyond the Color of Our Skin?" Essence, February 1995:25, 80-82.
·"I Felt Rage-Then Fear," Parents, 68 February 1993: 94-95.
·"Remember the 60's?" The Protest," Los Angeles Times, 13 December 1992: 1.
·"Brothers and Sisters," New York Times Magazine, 23 August 1992: 6,18.
·"Daddy's Girl," Essence, 23 June 1992: 72-74.
·"Staying in the Community," Essence, 20 December 1989: 96-98.

·Sugar on the Floor
·Old Lady Shoes
·Even with the Madness

·Brothers and Sisters (1995)
·Sweet Summer (1989)
Blogger Nevah~ said...

What a great post. I was sooo shocked to hear that Ms. Campbell died. Great writer and I currently have her book 24h Hold on my table to read soon. My condolences goes to her family and readers. She will be missed!

5:11 PM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger Kimber An said...

Wonderful tribute.

7:52 PM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger Gwyneth Bolton said...

This is beautiful, Michelle. It's wonderful that you got the chance to meet her and hear her speak on such an important topic. She will be missed.

10:03 AM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger ORION said...

This is quite poignant. Such a cool blog. I followed you from Kimber an's!
I do am both a gemini and a Christmas music fanatic.
Vince G is my favorite! Charley Brown's Christmas Rocks!

10:28 AM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Michelle said...

Writerwritz -- it was such sad news. I've always thought of her as an advocate writer -- someone whose writing truly packs a message and deals with important topics. What a void there will be in the literary world.

Kimber An -- thanks. I felt I had to do something for one of our literary giants. Thanks for visiting -- you're welcome back any time.

Gwyneth -- Girl, authors are like rock stars to me -- so I was humbled to meet her. She had such a serenity, peace and quiet strength about her. Her passion about mental illness in our community was contagious. It seems in general it's such a tabu to talk about mental illness and she wanted to try to erase stigmas associated with mental disorders! She'll truly be missed.

Orion -- thanks for stopping by fellow Christmas music-loving Gemini. I'll have to check Vince out.

10:44 AM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Stephen Bess said...

Wonderful woman and writer. This is a great tribute Michelle. How are you these days?

10:46 AM, November 30, 2006  

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