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Loretta Devine
J. California Cooper dies at 82; a voice for struggles of black women
J. California Cooper dies at 82; a voice for struggles of black women

J. California Cooper, who illuminated the struggles of black women in novels and short stories prized for their folksy wisdom and original voices, including those of an unborn child and a dead slave, died Sept. 20 in Seattle. She was 82. The cause was heart failure, said her daughter, Paris Williams. Cooper was the author of seven short story collections and five novels, including "Homemade Love," which won an American Book Award in 1989, and "Life Is Short but Wide," a 2009 bestseller about the intertwined lives of two African American families. Concerned with hardships like poverty, bad marriages and rape and universal yearnings for truth, love and happiness,...

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