November 25, 2022

Englewood’s Third World Press Celebrates 55th Anniversary – NBC Chicago

Third World Press is a nonprofit publishing house, committed to bringing to light culturally progressive and politically insightful books about the black experience.

Founder Haki Madhubuti is a leading poet and one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement.

“I started Third World Press in my basement flat in Englewood in 1967 with $400 and a photocopying machine,” says Dr. Haki Madhubuti, a poet and writer in her own right, with more than 36 published works.

A few years after starting Third World Press, Dr. Madhubuti and his wife founded the Institute of Positive Education and opened three schools. He attributes his success to hard work and the help of mentors, including the late poet Gwendolyn Brooks as well as the late Margaret Burroughs, who founded the DuSable Museum of African American History.

He remembers his first meeting with Brooks, when he asked him to review one of his books.

“She looked at the book and put it over her heart and said, ‘Young man, I’m going to read this tonight.’ explains Madhubuti.

From that moment on, both Madhubuti and Brooks never looked back.

“It started a 33-year-old family and she became my cultural mother.”

Michelle Boone, president of The Poetry Foundation, said Ms Brooks left a major publishing house to have Third World Press publish her work.

“Not only did he make significant contributions with his own writings and poems, but he was really instrumental in providing a platform for other poets,” Boone said/

Current Illinois Poet Laureate Angela Jackson had her first book published by Third World Press in the early 1970s, along with her current book, “Miracle and the Fellas.”

“It’s dedicated to literature that truly represents the African-American people, that represents us as we are and as we aspire to be,” Jackson said.

Both Angela Jackson and Haki Madhubuti receive the Poetry Foundation’s prestigious Pegasus Award for Outstanding Achievement.

On Saturday, Third World Press will host an open house to celebrate 55 years of independent black publishing.