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Sat, 02.18.1950

Bebe Moore, Writer, and Journalist born

Bebe Moore Campbell

*Bebe Moore was born on this date in 1950. She was a Black teacher, journalist, and novelist.

Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the only child of Doris Moore and George L. P. Moore. She was educated in the Philadelphia Public Schools, graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls.

As a child of divorced parents, she spent the school year in Philadelphia with her mother and the summer with her father in North Carolina. Her second book, Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad (1989), describes a father-daughter relationship as it flourished during the summer months when Campbell lived with her father and grandmother. Moore had the opportunity to witness firsthand the effects of racial segregation in both regions.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971. She taught elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1972 — 1975. Moore found that teaching was not her life’s work.  Searching for more, she enrolled in a writing class by author Toni Cade Bambara.  Eventually, Moore 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. Moore also became a regular commentator for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition."

She was also the author of four bestsellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Come Back Choir, What You Owe Me, and 72 Hour Hold. She was also the author of the LA Times bestseller and the New York Times notable book of the year, Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, for which she won an NAACP Image Award for literature. Her research and writing interests in mental health were motivated by a loved one who struggled with mental illness. It was the catalyst for her first children's book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, published in 2003. This book won the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Outstanding Literature Award the same year. Moore was appointed an Alumni Trustee of the University of Pittsburgh on June 24, 2005.

Moore 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. In September 2006, her children’s book “Stompin’ at the Savory” was released. In 2007, I’m So Hungry” will be released later.

Bebe Moore Campbell, diagnosed with brain cancer, died peacefully at home at 12:15 a.m. Pacific time on November 27, 2006, she was 56. "My wife was a phenomenal woman who did it her way," her husband, Ellis Gordon Jr., said in a statement. "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."

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