Third World Press Foundation provides quality literature that primarily focuses on issues, themes, and critique related to an African American public. The Third World Press Foundation mission is to make this literature accessible to as many individuals as possible including our targeted market of primarily African American readers.
The Third World Press Foundation mission to provide quality literature is further enhanced by our marketing goals to increase the overall awareness for the titles that we publish, and to expand beyond our current customer base of predominately African Americans readers, who are generally identified as college-educated and moderately affluent. These readers are consistent book-purchasing clients with academic or scholarly affiliation. Our goals are to cultivate a broader readership of individuals who want to gain greater insight into African American cultural traditions; to reach individuals that are younger and/or less scholarly-focused; and also to reach that customer who just did not know that we existed.
Haki R. Madhubuti founded Third World Press Foundation, the oldest independent publisher of Black thought and literature in the country, in 1967. Madhubuti (then known as Don L. Lee), with early support from Johari Amini and Carolyn Rodgers, launched Third World Press Foundation from his basement apartment on the South Side of Chicago. With Madhubuti’s $400 honorarium received from a poetry reading, a used mimeograph machine, and individuals committed to the local and national Black Arts and empowerment movements, the Press produced its first publications. During the formative years of the Press, Madhubuti was mentored and supported by a strong circle of artists, journalists, writers and professionals including Margaret Burroughs, Dudley Randall, Hoyt W. Fuller, Curtis Ellis, Soyini Walton, and Gwendolyn Brooks.
For more than forty-five years, Third World Press Foundation has published a rich tradition of African American writing by authors such as poet and publisher, Dudley Randall; Illinois Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks; poets Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Mari Evans, Margaret Walker, Sterling Plumpp and Haki R. Madhubuti; world-renown psychiatrists Frances Cress Welsing and Carl C. Bell; editor Hoyt W. Fuller; historians John Henrik Clarke, Jacob Carruthers and Chancellor Williams; playwright and producer Woody King, Jr.; writers Useni Eugene Perkins, Ayi Kwei Armah, Kalamu ya Salaam, Pearl Cleage, and Keorapetse Kgositsile; actors, producers and playwrights Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; artists Murry DePillars, Calvin Jones, and Jon Lockard; authors Nathan Hare, Asa G. Hilliard III, Derrick Bell, Barbara A. Sizemore, Marcia Sutherland, Clifford Watson, Geneva Smitherman, Herb Boyd, Michael Simanga, Lita Hooper, Diane Turner, Fred Hord, Ruth Garnett, Julianne Malveaux, Bakari Kitwana, Marc Lamont Hill, Thabiti Lewis, Mumia Abu Jamal, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Kelly Norman Ellis, Tony Medina and others. Our list continues to grow. Third World Press Foundation forthcoming works include: Pedagogical Imagination by Edmund W. Gordon and The Diary of Malcolm X edited by Herb Boyd and Ilyasah Shabazz.
A few years after the start of Third World Press Foundation, Madhubuti, his wife Safisha Madhubuti (Carol D. Lee) and others founded the Institute of Positive Education (IPE) and the New Concept Development Center, which later led to the opening of four schools in the Chicago South Side neighborhood. When asked about the germinating ideas and influences that brought Third World Press Foundation, IPE and the schools into existence, poet/founder/publisher Haki R. Madhubuti stated: “Third World Press Foundation and our African-centered schools exist primarily due to the influence of Black literature, mainly poetry, on my early life.” It is the mission of Third World Press Foundation to always honor Black writers and artists and to celebrate artists of all cultures. “Art matters and the best of our culture is defined by its artists.” He further stated, “Third World Press Foundation and IPE are our direct and most tangible responses to the Black Arts Movement’s call to action.” Third World Press Foundation, a full-service publishing house, located in a spacious facility at 7822 South Dobson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, is committed to publishing culturally progressive and politically insightful works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and works for children.