Lamenting the Loss of Two Groundbreaking African American Women

In a matter of days, the nation lost two vibrant women whose writing and voices elevated important issues, especially those impacting the African American community. 

Lynne Duke died on April 20 at age 56.  She had been the Washington Post’s first African American female foreign correspondent, serving as Johannesburg Bureau Chief from 1995 to 2002 and covering much of southern Africa.  In her 2003 memoir — “Mandela, Mobutu, and Me: A Newswoman’s African Journey,” she chronicled her work and celebrated the “extraordinary fortitude, unwavering hope and profound humanity despite immense odds” of the African people.

Just days later, Dr. Antronette K. Yancey, a physician and a UCLA public health professor, who urged people to incorporate exercise into their daily lives in small bursts, died at age 55. In 2010, she authored a book — “Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time.”  She was a champion for health equity and was committed to real-life solutions to public health problems.  Dr. Yancey was a non-smoker.

It was stunning to lose two such young, vibrant, impactful women to lung cancer in just one week.  Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women and African Americans, but very few people are aware if this.

Blame, shame and stigma surrounding lung cancer have stymied efforts to lessen its lethal impact — whether these remarkable women smoked or not, we know that no one deserves to die of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among African Americans.

Knowledge is power >>