Born in Duck Hill, Mississippi, in 1885, the youngest of seven children, Lucie E. Campbell moved to Memphis and was educated in the Memphis public schools. She graduated as valedictorian from Kortrecht High School (later Booker T. Washington) where she taught for many years. Campbell earned degrees from Rust College and Tennessee A&I State College. A civil justice activist, Campbell also fought to redress the pay scale and benefit inequities for African-American teachers. She became president of the Tennessee Teachers Association and was a long-time leader of the National Baptist Choral Society.
As Music Director of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., she auditioned Mahalia Jackson and Thomas Dorsey. She was the first woman among early great African-American gospel music composers, composing Something Within Me in 1919. She composed more than 100 such songs, including He'll Understand and Say Well Done (1933) and In the Upper Room (1947). Campbell died in Nashville on January 3, 1963. Her remains were buried in Memphis' Mount Carmel Cemetery.