A recent winter flood damaged the publishing home of Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks, poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, and Illinois poet laureate Angela Jackson. Despite the flood, the historic Third World Press Foundation will continue to operate.
More than $100,000 in donations have been raised in quick succession to assist the nation's oldest, independent, and consistently Black-owned publisher in overcoming $300,000 in estimated damages.
“I think we put the GoFundMe nonprofit page up on a Friday, and within a week or so, we saw people were responding,” says Madhubuti, who just last October received the Pegasus Lifetime Achievement Award from the Poetry Foundation. “It multiplied. And people who had not contacted us in years came to help. And what happened? I see it as a movement equated to what we were doing in the sixties and the seventies. It was a movement to save an institution because they knew -one- that I love black people, that's number one. But they knew also that Third World Press was a publisher of record.”
Many people have already contributed to the GoFundMe drive, including Kyrie Irving, who donated $50,000, and several others who donated $25. As far as Madhubuti is concerned, all donations are equally valuable and appreciated.
It's an empowering and uplifting moment that the oldest Black-owned publisher in the country was able to receive much-needed support from its community. This incredible display of collective aid demonstrates the strength and resilience of Black-owned businesses and communities and sends a powerful message that when we come together, we can overcome even the most challenging obstacles.