Dec 26, 2008

Dr. C. Diane Howell dies

Black Business Listing publisher, Oakland Black Expo producer

By Reginald James

Dr. C. Diane Howell, publisher of the Black Business Listings (BBL) and producer of the Black Expo, has died. Howell, a beautiful brown 58, died from complications of pnemonia at 10:24 p.m.

"She was hospitalized a few days ago, and her condition worsened,” according to an email sent to members of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the BBL/Black Expo. “Last night she was called home."

Dr. Howell is a clinical psychologist by training. After graduating from Hyde Park High School in Chicago, she went on to attend Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City where she received her B.A. in Psychology.

Determined to go to school and see the world, she then headed for Berkeley, CA where she attended the University of California at Berkeley. She soon became, to her knowledge, the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. from the Psychology Department at the University, according to

Upon graduation she became licensed as a psychologist and opened a part-time private practice. As graduate student, she became involved in the Bay Area Association of Black Psychologists, and became the organization's president in 1983.

In order to increase the association's visibility, she started a newsletter in 1984. That newsletter, “Black Perspectives,” evolved and changed, not only her life, but many others.

In 1989, she founded the Black Business Listings (BBL). Although she had no reserves, she was determined to promote economic development in the African American community. She continued her practice as a full-time psychologist until the demand for BBL allowed her to do so no more. She became a full-time publisher. The next year she began coordinating Black Expo in Oakland and in 1996 she took over full responsibility for producing the event, after the national, Black Expo USA, removed Oakland from its’ schedule. Howell focused on "raising the bar" and creating a well-produced, multi-faceted, much anticipated event that has something to offer everyone.

Since then, Howell made sure that the event offers something for everyone. The event—which drew tens of thousands every July—including a College Day Program for young people and their parents, a Home Buyers Fair, a Health Fair that aims to reduce the health disparities in the Black community and an Internet CafĂ© where young and old can learn more about computer technology and the internet. A variety of vendors—some local and others from throughout the country—were able to connect directly with attendees.

Black Expo ProducerDr. Howell has received numerous awards for her tireless efforts to encourage African American economic development. Most recently, she was awarded the “Community Award” by the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area’s Annual Gala in San Francisco. She was not present to accept the honor.

Just over a year ago, Dr. Howell wrote the obituary for another beloved member of the Oakland community, Chauncey Bailey.

An account will be set up at Alta Alliance Bank on Monday for donations in lieu of flowers, according to the BBL.

“Our appreciation goes out to all of you who have touched her life, and as always please keep her family in your prayers,” said the email.

The Howell family has requested that emails not be sent to the Black Expo email address, or the office. Instead, contact:

Adriann McCall 510-435-0961/, or
VaShone Huff 510-269-0206/

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