Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon (February 18, 1950 - November 27, 2006) was the author of three New York Times best sellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001. Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for literature.
She was a commentator for National Public Radio and a contributing editor for Essence magazine, and her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today Weekend, Black Enterprises, Ebony, and numerous other publications.
Campbell was born and raised in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She taught elementary and middle school for five years. She lived in Los Angeles with her husband, Ellis Gordon Jr. They have two children; a daughter, actress Maia Campbell; and a son, Ellis Gordon III. Read the transcript of Ms. Campbell's online chat from BarnesandNoble.com dated Thursday, February 19, 1998 9pm
Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry
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Reading level: Baby-Preschool
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (September 1, 2003)
A little girl learns coping skills with the help of her grandmother, neighbors and school friends, when her mother's mental illness disrupts her daily routine.
Some mornings, Annie's mother's smiles are as bright as sunshine as she makes pancakes for breakfast and helps Annie get ready for school.
But other days, her mother doesn't smile at all and gets very angry. Those days Annie has to be a big girl and make her own breakfast, and even put herself to bed at night. But Annie's grandma helps her remember what to do when her mommy isn't well, and her silly friends are there to cheer her up. And no matter what, Annie knows that even when Mommy is angry on the outside, on the inside she never stops loving her.
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Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf (June 28, 2005)
In this novel of family and redemption, a mother struggles to save her eighteen-year-old daughter from the devastating consequences of mental illness by forcing her to deal with her bipolar disorder. New York Times best-selling author Bebe Moore Campbell draws on her own powerful emotions and African-American roots, showcasing her best writing yet.
Trina suffers from bipolar disorder, making her paranoid, wild, and violent. Watching her child turn into a bizarre stranger, Keri searches for assistance through normal channels. She quickly learns that a seventy-two hour hold is the only help you can get when an adult child starts to spiral out of control. After three days, Trina can sign herself out of any program.
Fed up with the bureaucracy of the mental health community and determined to save her daughter by any means necessary, Keri signs on for an illegal intervention. The Program is a group of radicals who eschew the psychiatric system and model themselves after the Underground Railroad. When Keri puts her daughter's fate in their hands, she begins a journey that has her calling on the spirit of Harriet Tubman for courage. In the upheaval that follows, she is forced to confront a past that refuses to stay buried, even as she battles to secure a future for her child.
Bebe Moore Campbell's moving story is for anyone who has ever faced insurmountable obstacles and prayed for a happy ending, only to discover she'd have to reach deep within herself to fight for it.
Brothers and Sisters
Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group (September 1, 1995)
An eagerly awaited new novel by the author of Your Blues Ain't Like Mine. Campbell's new novel is set in the white-hot center of racially troubled Los Angeles, where African American Esther Jackson has a promising career at a downtown bank. When a new black male vice president's behavior draws a sexual harassment suit, Esther is forced to examine her own loyalties.
What You Owe Me
Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group (September 1, 2002)
What You Owe Me is a stunning account of the changes we have seen in white attitudes toward blacks, but it is also a sensitive look at what betrayal'of friendship, of love'does to us all.
Los Angeles, l945: When Hosanna Clark, newly arrived from the farm fields of Texas, befriends Holocaust survivor Gilda Rosenstein, she opens the door to a new life for them both. Using Gilda's knowledge of cosmetics and Hosanna's energy and determination, they begin producing a line of lipsticks and lotions for black women. The two are more than partners: They are dear friends.
Then Gilda suddenly disappears, taking all the assets. Hosanna is doubly betrayed: financially ruined and emotionally bereft. When, years later, she passes away, her small cosmetics company dies with her. But Hosanna leaves behind a daughter steeped in her mother's pain: Matriece is as smart and driven as her mother and savvy enough to recognize that white firms are competing not only for black consumer dollars but for black professional talent as well. When Gilda's huge cosmetics conglomerate hires her to launch a line of black beauty products, Matriece takes on a mission to collect her mother's debt.
What You Owe Me is a stunning account of the changes we have seen in white attitudes toward blacks, but it is also a sensitive look at what betrayal-of friendship, of love-does to us all. Ultimately, it is a moving book about healing. As Emerge magazine acknowledged, "Campbell's writings are a beacon of light, helping assuage the anger by tending our deepest wounds."
Blues Ain't Like Mine
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Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 10, 1993)
Set in the recent American past, this is a timeless tale of racism, murder, and redemption. A black Chicago-born teen goes Deep South for the summer and is murdered for saying the wrong thing to a white woman. Repercussions are felt by everyone involved, both black and white, for generations.
Repercussions are felt for decades in a dozen lives after a racist beating turns to cold-blooded murder in a small Mississippi town in the 1950s. Bebe Moore Campbell's affecting memoir, Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad, was hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "a remarkable achievement." "Ripe with family stories, lush with images, suffused with emotions," said the Kansas City Star. "It is probably one of the more overdue books about and for the black community," wrote Nikki Giovanni in The Washington Post. Now Campbell turns her abundant talents to fiction in an evocative first novel, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine. Chicago-born Armstrong Todd is fifteen, black, and unused to the segregated ways of the Deep South when his mother sends him to spend the summer with relatives in her native rural Mississippi. For speaking a few innocuous words in French to a white woman, Armstrong pays the ultimate price when her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law decide to teach him a lesson. The lives of everyone involved in the incident - black and white - are changed forever, and the reverberations extend well into the next generation. Resonant with the sorrows of poverty and racial prejudice as well as the triumphs of love and social justice, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine marks the debut of a powerful, clear voice in contemporary fiction.
in the Comeback Choir
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Hardcover: 372 pages
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T) (February 16, 1998)
Maxine McCoy's life is going pretty well. She is the executive producer of a hugely popular talk show, married to the man she loves, and pregnant with their child. Although there are some issues in her life that she must deal with -- her husband's past infidelity, the high pressures that come with being a television producer -- she has done rather well for herself.
Living atop a Los Angeles hill in a lavish home, Maxine feels good about what she has accomplished, especially considering the limited circumstances and opportunity she was given in the struggling Philadelphia community where she was raised. But her security is shattered and everything changes when Maxine gets a call from the caretaker of her 76-year-old grandmother, who raised the orphaned Maxine. She is summoned back to the old neighborhood that she would rather forget.
Maxine returns to Philadelphia and discovers that her old neighborhood, like her grandmother, has seen better days. Once a brilliant singing star, Maxine's grandmother, Lindy, has become a smoking, drinking, bitter woman whose once glorious voice has withered from disuse. The house that at one time echoed with music and laughter is now quiet and lifeless. The community in which Maxine grew up has become a crime-infested neighborhood that keeps its residents in a state of fear and despair.
Maxine is all set to move her grandmother away from the decimation around her, but Liddy isn't quite ready to leave, and fights for her independence. When an opportunity arises for Liddy to sing once again, both she and Maxine realize that Lindy and the old neighborhood are worthy of restoration.
Writing with lyrical prose and insight, Bebe Moore Campbell demonstrates why Entertainment Weekly called her "a master when it comes to telling a story." She has written a tale of hope and redemption that shows how, with the right attitude, anything is possible.
Summer : Growing up with and without My Dad
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Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reissue edition (June 1, 2000)
Bebe Moore grew up in a divided world'between her mother's house in Philadelphia and the "sweet summers" spent South with a disabled father. Sweet Summer is her acclaimed account of those years, a story of finding her father in a fractured family. "A wonderful book!"-Bill Cosby.
Bebe Moore Campbell Dies at Age 56
Writer Fought Valiantly to the End in Battle Against Cancer
The AALBC.com family expresses our deepest sympathy to the family of Bebe Moore
Campbell. Campbell made her transition, Nov 27th 2006, in Los Angeles. She
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