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Bessye J. Bearden (1893  – 1943) was an American journalist and mother of artist Romare Bearden.


Bessye J. Bearden was born in North Carolina to George T. and Carrie O. Banks. She attended public schools in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

She married R. Howard Bearden and this union produced a son, Romare.

For several years she served as a New York correspondent for the Chicago Defender.

Bearden has the distinction of being one of the first black women to serve as a member of New York City's Board of Education. She was also the founder and president of the Colored Women's Democratic League.


  • Yenser, Thomas (editor), Who's Who in Colored America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Persons of African Descent in America, Who's Who in Colored America, Brooklyn, New York, 1930-1931-1932 (Third Edition)

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