Alumni Spotlight Image
Elijah Bell ’07 is an award-winning poet, writer and best-selling author of “Love Letters from a Broken Black Man,” and is the founder of Righteous Read Publishers through which he has also published “Cookbook for Heartbreak: 15 Recipes for Disaster” and “101 Things About Women that My Father Never Taught Me.”
Bell’s life story, thus far, is quite compelling. Born and raised in the tough neighborhoods of Newark, and with the influence of his mother, grandmother and godfather, Bell motivated himself to become a Broadway performer, professional vocalist, performance poet, song writer, hip-hop personality and even an ordained minister—all before the young age of 14. He later became a respected social worker, government official and administrator of a juvenile detention facility.
“Bloomfield College gave me my lifetime circle of friends, most of who, if not all, came from poverty,” said Bell. “Bloomfield also exposed me to so many different cultures. I could walk across the Quad and feel like I got the experience of traveling to different countries. There were so many languages spoken, it felt like a good version of Twilight Zone,” he quipped.
Bell began as a computer science major at Bloomfield before changing his major to English with a writing concentration. He attributes this decision to the faculty and staff for seeing his talent and advising him about how he could make a living writing.
“I did not think I was going to get the chance to truly be a writer. BC gave me awards, helped me create my resume and inspired me to have the confidence to take risks. And, it was not just the teaching staff—it was the EOF staff and the students that I met as well. Seeing all the different paths that people were on opened up a new world to me about the possibilities,” said Bell.
A turning point in his life, Bell suffered serious injuries in a car accident five years ago that left him mostly paralyzed. In his writing, he captures a level of depth that combines his life experiences from before and after his accident with his innate creativity and talent as a natural performer. His non-fiction works and raw poetry are truly inspiring and indubitably tug at the heart of so many. “The best decision I ever made was to become an English major,” he states. “Writing was where I found my passion.”
Currently, Bell is working on developing a young non-profit urban poets society to invite disadvantaged (and all) youth to learn how to monetize writing as a safety net that can reduce their life struggles. His desire to always help others, even as he has suffered losses, remains a cornerstone of his personality and life purpose.