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Third World Press 40th Anniversary


Press Memorandum

Catherine Compton
Third World Press
773-651-0700, ext. 25

Third World Press celebrates 40th year with two-day splash

CHICAGO - (August 2, 2007) - Celebrities such as film and theater grand dame Ruby Dee and renowned author Walter Mosley will be on hand as Third World Press, one of the nation’s oldest and most highly respected Black-owned publishing houses, celebrates its 40th year next month. The two days of festivities on September 14th and 15th are expected to attract dozens of notables in arts, literature and social activism, as well as hundreds of supporters and well-wishers.

Third World Press founder and president Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti says, “Forty years of success is remarkable for any independent company, and in the book
publishing industry it’s nothing less than extraordinary. But we believed that the writers of America’s Black literature needed the support of a Black-owned, culturally specific publishing house as a venue for their work, and that has always been the company’s guiding beacon. Now we want to say thank you to all those who supported and believed in the company over the years.”

On Friday, September 14, from 12 to 2 p.m., an afternoon reception at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, is expected to draw many of the city’s best known elected officials, media representatives and community leaders. Keynote speaker Walter Mosley will offer his views on the state of politics, literature and publishing by and for African Americans. Mosley, who has written more than 20 books in a variety of categories, including fiction, science fiction and non-fiction politics, is best known for his best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins. His first published book, Devil in a Blue Dress, became a 1995 hit movie starring Denzel Washington.

The downtown reception will be followed by a 4 to 6 p.m. open house at Third World Press headquarters at 7822 South Dobson Ave. The adjacent Betty Shabazz International Charter School will host an awards ceremony to honor the company’s long-time supporters from 6 to 9 p.m.

On Saturday, September 15, from 6 to 9 p.m., an evening gala with dinner and musical entertainment will be held at the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union, 1340 W. Washington St., Chicago. The highlight of the event will be special guest Ms. Ruby Dee performing works by the late Illinois Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks. Ms. Dee's career in acting has crossed all major forms of media over a span of eight decades. She and her late husband, actor Ossie Davis, were highly active in the struggle for
civil rights. Tickets are $250. Call (773) 651-0700 for purchasing

The 40th Anniversary Celebration is being organized by Third World Press Foundation, the non-profit arm of the company that promotes literacy through various programs and is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c)(3)of the IRS.

- MORE -


Third World Press has been dedicated to publishing culturally progressive and politically insightful works of fiction and non-fiction since 1967. Founded in the basement of an apartment building by Chicago State University Distinguished Professor Haki R. Madhubuti, the humble beginnings of the publishing house shaped its intimate involvement in Black struggle.

As poet, publisher, editor and educator, Dr. Madhubuti has been a pivotal figure in the development of a strong Black literary tradition, emerging from the Civil Rights and Black Arts era of the 1960s and continuing to the present. He has published more than 28 books (some under his former name, Don L. Lee) and is one of the world’s best-selling authors of poetry and non-fiction. His Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: The African American Family in Transition (1990) has sold more than one million copies.
His most recent release is YellowBlack: The First Twenty One Years of a Poet ’s Life (2006), a memoir of the people and places that were a part of his early life. Two upcoming releases, Liberation Narrative: Collected Poems and Freedom to Self-Destruct: Selected Essays will be available for Third World Press’ 40th Anniversary.

In addition to Third World Press, Dr. Madhubuti is also a founder of the Institute of Positive Education/New Concept School (1969), co-founder of Betty Shabazz International Charter School (1998), Barbara A. Sizemore Middle School (2005), and DuSable Leadership Academy (2005), all of which are in Chicago.

Over its four-decade history, Third World Press has published the works of poet and publisher Dudley Randall, poets Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Mari Evans and Margaret Walker; editor Hoyt W. Fuller; historians, John Henrik Clarke and Chancellor Williams; Chicago writers, Sterling Plumpp, Useni Eugene Perkins and Jacob Carruthers; playwright and producer Woody King Jr.; writers, Kalamu ya Salaam, Pearl Cleage, Ruby Dee, Ruth Garnett, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Derrick Bell, Gloria Naylor and Lorene Cary; artist Murry DePillars; and continues to publish much of the work by the unforgettable Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks.

With an extensive backlist of classics in socially conscious literature such as The Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams, Intellectual Warfare by Jacob Carruthers and The Black Anglo Saxons by Nathan Hare, every African-American studies program in the nation is likely to have Third World Press books on its syllabus. Long-time supporters of the company include celebrities such as Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Wesley Snipes, Danny Glover and the late Gwendolyn Brooks.

In 2006, Third World Press became the first Black-owned publishing house to have a book on the New York Times Best Seller list. The Covenant with Black America, with an introduction by Tavis Smiley, spent more than 20 weeks as one of America’s best selling non-fiction paperbacks and has sold more than 400,000 copies.

For more information, please contact Catherine Compton at (773) 651-0700, ext. 25, or email
. For more information on Third World Press titles, visit

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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