Third World Press Foundation (TWPF) has big plans for its 50th anniversary, themed “Fearlessly Publishing About the Black Experience for 50 Years!” TWPF50 is a weeklong celebration from Saturday, September 30 – Saturday, October 7 with Black literary and artistic luminaries including Danny Glover, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sonia Sanchez. Founded in 1967 by Chicago poet and educator Dr. Haki Madhubuti, TWPF is the oldest continuously-publishing independent Black press in the United States.
The celebration begins Saturday, Sept. 30, with an intergenerational conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ta-Nehisi; his father, former Black Panther Paul Coates, founder of Black Classics Press; and Madhubuti. The weeklong celebration includes a dinner gala on October 7 with headliner jazz singer Cassandra Wilson. A powerful, star-studded lineup of other TWPF50 events features film screenings, spoken word, conversations, lectures and performances by Sonia Sanchez, Cornel West, Fr. Michael Pfleger, Maulana Karenga, jessica Care moore, Michael Simanga, Askia Toure, Kalamu ya Salaam, Maggie Brown, Herb Boyd, Kwame Cobb, Nora Brooks Blakely, Michael Simanga, Bakari Kitwana, Fred Hord and many others.
For more than 50 years, Third World Press Foundation has published poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by the most prolific writers across multiple generations. Its writers include Pulitzer Prize-winner and Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Jacob Carruthers, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Asa Hilliard, Sonia Sanchez, Kalamu ya Salaam, Julianne Malveaux, Gil Scott-Heron, as well as Next Generation writers such as Marc Lamont Hill, Lita Hooper, Michael Simanga, Bakari Kitwana, and many more.
TWPF was, and remains, the go-to publisher for Black writers and poets when mainstream publishing houses refused to accept their manuscripts. “That’s how we started,” says Madhubuti. “After 50 years of this kind of work, it’s become very clear to me that we are the answer to our own problems. People want to control their own cultural imperatives about the healthy replication of themselves. We’ve tried to provide the literature for that healthy replication. We’ve done that by publishing some of the best writers and poets in our nation. And, Gwendolyn Brooks is the best.”