Mable Haddock, a pioneering public media leader and champion of Black television and film, died Saturday after a brief hospitalization in New York City.
The cause of death was kidney disease. She was 74 years old.
Haddock was the founding president and first CEO of the National Black Programming Consortium — the national media arts nonprofit now known as Black Public Media that funds and develops media content about the Black experience.
“Mable exemplified what it meant to be authentically Black and female in a professional space,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, BPM executive director. “She wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power, both verbally and in her writings.”
“A true trailblazer, she was a warrior in the fight for equity in public media, and a friend to all,” Fields-Cruz added.
Haddock dedicated her life to bringing diverse voices to public media and beyond. In 1979, she helped found NBPC in Columbus, Ohio, to support Black stories and storytellers in film and television. She led the nonprofit for 25 years and oversaw its relocation to a new home in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in 2000.
During Haddock’s tenure, NBPC distributed more than $6 million in grant funding to hundreds of film and television producers who created scores of documentaries and programs about the Black experience for public television. NBPC also joined forces with other public media consortia to form the National Minority Consortia, now known as the National Multicultural Alliance.
Haddock also worked as a television programmer, film curator and producer. She was a founding director of the Firelight Media Documentary Lab — an intensive fellowship for emerging producers of color — and a panelist/reader for the Independent Television Service, American Documentary’s independent film series POV, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and arts councils for the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. She was an emeritus board member for BPM and served on advisory boards of a variety of media organizations, including local cable systems and public access channels, the PBS programming board, the National Minority Consortia and the Ohio Arts Council multicultural advisory board. A contributing writer for Dialogue Magazine, she lectured across the U.S. and around the world about the aesthetics, politics and role of Black film.
Haddock received numerous film, television, and media industry awards during her public media career, including Founders Awards from the Black Women’s Preservation Project, Communications Excellence to Black Audiences Awards, the Leo Award from the Flaherty International Film Seminars and a leadership award from the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, now known as the Alliance.
A graduate of Mercy College, Haddock earned a certificate in public broadcast management from the Wharton School of Business. She also was bestowed a fellowship in Columbia University’s Charles H. Revson Fellows Program.
A GoFundMe is collecting donations to support Haddock’s family and memorial planning. A private funeral will be held Aug. 4 in her hometown of Clover, Va. Public memorials in New York City and Columbus will be announced later.