Janet Cheatham Bell

Janet Cheatham Bell photo

Janet Cheatham Bell is an educator, recovering academic, author, and publishing entrepreneur. After teaching African American literature and composition at several universities, she became a curriculum consultant for ethnic studies. Beginning in 1978, she became an editor of high school literature textbooks, working to make them more inclusive. That experience in book publishing encouraged her to self-publish her first collection of Black quotations in 1986. By 2002, she had nine books of quotations on the market. In addition, she has published two memoirs, The Time and Place That Gave Me Life (2007) and Mixed Marriage (2018). She has also written two essay collections; Victory of the Spirit (2011) and Not All Poor People Are Black (2015).

She considers her highest achievement to be that of her Emmy-winning comedian-filmmaker son, W. Kamau Bell, as well as her Hugo-winning, bestselling niece, N. K. Jemison, who both credit her for inspiring them to pursue their dreams. Now [2023] a grateful grandmother in her eighties, she is still writing and still taking risks.

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6 Books by Janet Cheatham Bell