Mable Haddock, Black Public Media Founder, Dies at 74

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Mable Haddock, the founding president and first CEO of Black Public Media, a major film and TV funding nonprofit, has died. She was 74.

Haddock died Saturday in New York City of kidney disease after a brief hospitalization, it was announced Wednesday by Black Public Media.

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In the 1970s, Haddock saw a need to diversify stories told on TV and set about to support Black filmmakers and producers and their films and TV programs and series. In 1979, she created BPM, then known as National Black Programming Consortium, which under her leadership supported hundreds of Black directors and producers with funding and having their work distributed on public television.

Today, Harlem-based BPM is a national media arts nonprofit focused on creating and producing media content about the Black experience. “Mable exemplified what it meant to be authentically black and female in a professional space. She wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power, both verbally and in her writings,” BPM executive director Leslie Fields-Cruz said in a statement.

While heading BPM, Haddock distributed more than $6 million in funding to Black film and TV producers. Documentaries and other programs that leveraged BPM funding to reach public television included programs like Matters of Race, Unnatural Causes, Mandela, The Fannie Lou Hamer Story and The State of Black America (I and II).

BPM partnered with other organizations like National Minority Consortia, now the National Multicultural Alliance. Haddock was also a TV programmer, film curator, producer and a founding director of the Firelight Media Documentary Lab, which supported emerging producers of color.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Haddock, and a private funeral will be held in Clover, Virginia on Aug. 4, with public memorials in New York and Columbus, Ohio, to follow.

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