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Authors and Illustrators Who Passed Away in 2021


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We lost a lot of good people on 2021.  It seems like there were just so many compared to previous years. This past fall, it seemed like someone was passing every other week.  Many of the people below I've come to know over the years; several images from the collage below are photos I've taken.


This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  If you are know of an important writer, or person who published a book, who passed last year please reply with their names and a link to their obituary or AALBC page.


Floyd Cooper (Jan 8, 1956 – Jul 15, 2021), Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrator
Eric Jerome Dickey (Jul 7, 1961 – Jan 3, 2021), One of AALBC’s Bestselling Authors
Bernette Ford (Jun 30, 1950 – Jun 20, 2021), Children’s Book Author and the First African-American Editor to Hold the VP/Associate Publisher at a Major House
Glen Ford (Nov 5, 1949 – Jul 28, 2021), Author and Executive Director of Black Agenda Report
Eddie Faye Gates (Feb 5, 1934 – Dec 9, 2021), Renowned Historian on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
Lawrence Otis Graham (Dec 25, 1961 – Feb 19, 2021), Chronicler of America's Black Upper Class
Eloise Greenfield (May 17, 1929 – Aug 5, 2021), Award Winning Children’s Book Author
bell hooks (Sep 25, 1952 – Dec 15, 2021) Cultural Critic, Feminist Theorist, and Writer
Lynda M. Johnson (1956 – Sep 25, 2021), President and Co-founder of Go On Girl! Book Club
Kamilah Aisha Moon (Sep 5, 1973 – Sep 24, 2021), Acclaimed Poet
Paul Mooney (Aug 4, 1941 – May 19, 2021), Legendary Comedian
Melvin Van Peebles (Aug 21, 1932 – Sep 22, 2021) Founding Father of Black American Cinema
Jerry Pinkney (Dec 22, 1939 – Oct 20, 2021), Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrator
Colin Powell (Apr 5, 1937 – Oct 18, 2021), Secretary of State
Albert J. Raboteau(Sep 4, 1943 – Sep 18, 2021), the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion at Princeton University
Winfred Rembert(1945 – 2021) Artist, Subject of Two Award-winning Documentary Films
Greg Tate (Oct 15, 1957 – Dec 7, 2021) “Godfather of Hip-Hop Journalism”

▪  Desmond Tutu (Oct 7, 1931 – Dec 26, 2021) Nobel Prize-Winning South African Archbishop Emeritus

Cicely Tyson (Dec 19, 1924 – Jan 28, 2021), Actress, Lecturer, and Activist

May all their souls rest in peace.



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  • Troy changed the title to Authors and Illustrators Who Passed Away in 2021

A note from a subscriber; "rip. I particularly enjoyed Kamila Aisha Moon's  work and will always be grateful; tp Melvin Van Peebles for championing the splendid works of Chester Himes, one of the greats."


Yeah Chester Himes wrote some interesting books, an "urban fiction" writer before that was a thing. A couple of his novels were turned into pretty good movies one of my faves was Cotton Comes to Harlem.


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