Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Oldest Black publishing company suffers devastating flood

Last year marked the 55th anniversary of Chicago-based Third World Press Foundation, the oldest, independent, continuously operating Black publishing company in the nation. The Foundation marked the momentous occasion in the Fall of 2022 with gusto and invited their supporters, friends, authors, and family to celebrate with them at headquarters.

Unfortunately, shortly after, a water pipe burst beneath the headquarters building and the entire basement was quickly flooded.

“The flooded area housed the major portion of Third World Press’ book inventory,” said American Book Award winner and Third World Press Founder Haki Madhubuti. “Our loss has been overwhelming and financially crippling.”

In another disastrous turn of events, the flooding occurred right in the middle of the Foundation’s busy season as they were preparing to fill holiday orders for the Kwanzaa and Christmas gift-giving season. “Our lost inventory consisted of many of our best sellers,” said Third World Foundation Board Member Dr. Keith Gilyard during an interview with NBC Chicago. “To say that we are devastated is an understatement.”

Keith Gilyard, Founder of Third World Press Foundation (Courtesy photo)

The Foundation is seeking donations to cover their losses—including damaged books, furniture, computers, bookshelves, and the relocation of salvageable books to the first floor. The Foundation was already forced to close for two weeks during its busiest season, thereby losing sales for the year-end holidays and fundraising.

If Third World Press Foundation is to survive this catastrophe, they need the public’s help. The Foundation is classified as 501(c)3 nonprofit status, so all donations are tax-deductible.$125,000 has been raised so far but donations are still being accepted online via their GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/e98d712c.

Third World Press Foundation provides quality literature that primarily focuses on issues, themes, and critiques related to the African American public. Their mission is to make this literature accessible to as many individuals as possible.

Their 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 to reach that customer who just did not know that they existed.

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