From its opening night event that featured an intimate conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates; his father, former Black Panther and Black Classics Press founder Paul Coates; and Third World Press Foundation (TWPF) founder Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti, to a gala dinner at The Parkway Ballroom where Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson treated the audience to her melodic sounds, TWPF50 was a rousing success. The weeklong celebration commemorated the oldest continuously-publishing independent Black press in the United States that’s headquartered on the South Side of Chicago.
Actor, activist and humanitarian Danny Glover, event co-chair and TWPF long-time friend, joined nearly 300 guests at The Parkway Ballroom for an evening of prose, performance and tribute. The weeklong celebratory events featured film screenings, spoken word, conversations, lectures and performances by filmmakers Shirikiana Aina Gerima and Shahari Moore and film by photographer Roy Lewis; TWPF writers and poets Sonia Sanchez, Cornel West, Fr. Michael Pfleger, Woodie King Jr., Fred Hord, Aminifu Harvey, Herb Boyd, Maulana Karenga, jessica Care moore, Michael Simanga, Askia Toure, Kalamu ya Salaam, Gwendolyn Mitchell, Eugene Redmond, Useni Perkins, Carol Adams, Romi Crawford, Pemon Rami, Diane Turner, Lasana Kazembe, Kwame Cobb, Bakari Kitwana; and other notables including Maggie Brown, Nicole Mitchell and Black Earth Ensemble, Ugochi Nwaogwugwu, Prophet Malaak, Jahari Jones, KLove Harris, Malcolm London, and Gwendolyn Brooks’ daughter Nora Brooks Blakely. Lucy Smith and Cheryl Corley presented a special performance of “Chicago Soul in Action: A Celebration of the Words and Music of Gwendolyn Brooks and Curtis Mayfield.”
CARES Mentoring Movement founder and ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Susan Taylor and award-winning actor and humanitarian Danny Glover served as co-chairs. Sponsors included BMOA, The Chicago Crusader, Studio Movie Grill, Poetry Foundation, The Faith Community of St. Sabina, Soul Vegetarian, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, City Colleges of Chicago/- Kennedy-King, and the Institute of Positive Education.
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, Julianne Malveaux, Gil Scott-Heron, as well as Next Generation writers such as Marc Lamont Hill, Lita Hooper and many more. Visit www.thirdworldpressfoundation.com for details.
As one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, Madhubuti has been a pivotal figure in the development of a strong Black literary tradition. His commitment to uplift and empower the Black community was the impetus behind several Chicago Afrocentric educational institutions, including his co-founding of the Institute of Positive Education in 1969, the New Concept School in 1972 and Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools in 1998, all still operating. 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 has sold more than 1 million copies. Co-edited by Dr. Lasana Kazembe, TWPF’s latest book, Not Our President: New Directions from the Pushed Out, the Others, and the Clear Majority in Trump’s Stolen America, is a call-to-action for critical thinking and action, and progressive movement-building among everyday people – the vast majority of whom stand outside Trump’s vision for America.