HAKI R. MADHUBUTIS 75 YEAR LEGACY CONTINUES
3/8/2017, noon | Updated on 3/8/2017, noon
HAKI R. MADHUBUTI’S 75 YEAR LEGACY CONTINUES
By Chris Shuttlesworth
Times have changed, but Haki R. Madhubuti’s ideas about Black empowerment have remained the same.
An award-winning writer who has published 31 books, he’s
been a community advocate and a vital proponent of independent Black institutions.
Recently, members of the Black community in Chicago came together to help him celebrate his 75th birthday at the Grand Ballroom on 6351 S. Cottage Grove Ave. The event marked a moment in time to not only celebrate Madhubuti’s great fortune of being on the planet for 75 years, but it was also an opportunity to reflect back on the importance of recognizing those who have fought the good fight over time, even in the face of adversity.
Madhubuti, who has received countless awards for his efforts towards the progression of Black literature, was also recognized in 2009 when he was named one of the “Ebony Power 150: Most Influential Blacks in America” for education.
He said he never wanted to be famous because in his eyes, fame wasn’t everything. While fame hasn’t been high on his priority list, the education and enlightenment of Black people has.
Whether it was teaching at colleges like Chicago State University, Howard University and the University of Iowa or through his 1-million copy best-seller book entitled, “Black
Men: Obsolete, Single, And Dangerous? The African American Family in Transition” (1990), Madhubuti has inspired people
nationwide both in and outside of the classroom.
His passion for literature was also evident when he started
the Third World Press Foundation in 1967. Third World Press Foundation is the oldest independent publisher of Black thought and literature in the country, according to its website. “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, SoyiniWalton, and Gwendolyn Brooks,” according to thirdworldpressfoundation.com.
Additionally, Madhubuti is founder of the Institute of Positive Education/New Concept School (1969), and a cofounder of the Betty Shabazz International Charter School (1998), Barbara A. Sizemore Middle School (2005), and DuSable Leadership Academy (2005), all of which are in Chicago,” according to a Third World Press, press release.
“This is a collective endeavor,” Madhubuti said. “I can’t run this by myself. It has to have people who believe in the vision, ideas and so forth. For over 50 years, we have been trying to
do this work.”
He said the schools’ work is in two areas: education and communication, adding that he and his collective group felt that if Black people don’t have serious control of their own destiny,