This Woman's WorkThe Writing and Activism of Bebe Moore Campbell

This Woman's WorkThe Writing and Activism of Bebe Moore Campbell

Osizwe Raena Jamila Harwell

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9781496807588

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

This Woman’s Work: The Writing and Activism of Bebe Moore Campbell is a social history and critical biography based on the life of award-winning writer Bebe Moore Campbell. This manuscript examines Bebe Moore Campbell’s life and activism in two periods: first, as a student at the University of Pittsburgh during the 1960s Black Student Movement; and second, as a mental health advocate near the end of her life in 2006. Primarily known as a bestselling novelist, Campbell’s first and final novels, Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine (1992) and 72 Hour Hold (2005) reveal a direct relationship to her lesser-known activist work. As a writer and activist, Bebe Moore Campbell used frame shifting within each of her works. Her writing thus becomes a powerful vehicle through which subject matter is enlivened and expanded, immersing her readers in relevant historical and sociopolitical phenomena. As a novelist, Bebe Moore Campbell utilized recurring signature themes within each novel to theorize and to connect popular audiences with African American historical memory and current sociopolitical issues. Similarly, Campbell’s bridge leadership, charismatic personality, and writing merge within two social movement organizations as she aids in significant grassroots/local and institutional change.