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11.28.06 03:20 PM

RIP Bebe Moore Campbell

bebe_moore_campbell.jpg Bebe Moore Campbell died at her home in Los Angeles of complications from brain cancer on Monday. She was 56.

The author of three New York Times bestsellers -- Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, as well as 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 -- Campbell tackled such topics as racism and the problems of mental illness.

Her interest in mental health 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. The book tells the story of how a little girl copes with being reared by her mentally ill mother. She took up the mental illness challenge further in her first play, "Even with the Madness," which revisited the theme of mental illness and the family and debuted in New York in June 2003.

Campbell disclosed the fact that there was mental illness in her family but was not specific about the details.

As a journalist Ms. Campbell has written articles for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, and other publications. She is a regular commentator for National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Ms. Campbell was born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Ellis Gordon Jr. She has a son and a daughter.

Contributions in her name can be made to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill at NAMI Urban Los Angeles, 4305 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008; or to the United Negro College Fund, 8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Park Drive, P.O. Box 10444, Fairfax, VA 22031.

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