Orde M. Coombs is an author, film producer and editor hailing from the island of St. Vincent. As a young boy he peeled sugar cane in the fields and loved to borrow books from the local library. At age 13, Coombs became aware of the difference between the white population, who were the minority on the island, and the black people like himself. This would shape his life and his career.
Coombs began producing documentary films which depicted the West Indian culture. His films focused on the life of people in the black community and the hardships they faced. He then went on to study for his undergraduate degree at Yale University in America in 1961.
Having graduated from Yale University in 1965, Orde M. Coombs, moved to the UK and began his graduate work at Clare College in Cambridge. Coombs moved to try and escape the torment of civil rights politics in the US. However, by the Spring semester in 1966, Coombs had become depressed and realised that he needed to move back to America. He worked as an Associate Editor for the Publisher, Doubleday from 1966-1968.
Following this Orde M. Coombs did a short stint at Western Electric from 1968-1969. Coombs knew he wouldn’t last long there as he truly disliked large corporate systems. He then went to work at McCall publishing as a Senior Editor for two years. Coombs was a co-host on the talk show ‘Black Conversations’ in New York in the 70s. He also was an adjunct lecturer at New York University in 1973.
Coombs published many books, for example in 1972, he published ‘Do You See My Love for You Growing?’ This was a book of essays that probed the black experience in contemporary America. It examined the immigrant experience and explored much of what he had been through. He received a number awards for his works and dedication to….
In 1974, he received the Alicia Patterson award and also the Media award for public service reporting that same year for his talk show, ‘Black Conversations’.
Orde M. Coombs really made his voice heard. He wrote for the New York Magazine and New York Times. Coombs also collaborated with photographer Chester Higgins Jr for two books. Coombs spent his short life working to illuminate America’s racial divide and to reveal African-American accomplishments despite incredible odds. Orde M. Coombs, taken from us far too soon, Caribbean1st absolutely salutes you.
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