Last year marked our 55th anniversary in the publishing business. We are very proud to have built the oldest, independent, continuously operating Black publishing company in the nation. In October, we celebrated with gusto and invited our supporters, friends, authors and family to our headquarters to commemorate with us.
The winter season is traditionally busy for us as we fill holiday orders for the Kwanzaa and Christmas gift giving season. This year however, our efforts were dampened when a water pipe burst beneath our building on a Friday night and quickly flooded the entire basement. Unfortunately, the flooded area housed the major portion of Third World Press’ backlist as well as front-listed books. Our loss has been overwhelming and financially crippling.
Our lost inventory consisted of many of our best sellers and included books by Gwendolyn Brooks, Chancellor Williams, Adelaide Sanford, Fred Hord, Diane Turner, Thabiti Lewis, John Henrik Clarke, Herb Boyd, Edmund W. Gordon, Angela Jackson, Useni Eugene Perkins, Jacqueline Bryant, Keith Gilyard, Jacob H. Carruthers, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Christine List, Haki R. Madhubuti and many others.
To say that we are devastated is an understatement. We desperately need your help. The considerable dollar amount of our loss is approximately $95,000 based upon damaged books, furniture, computers, bookshelves, workers’ regular and overtime pay for clean-up and the relocation of salvageable books to the first floor. We were forced to close the last two weeks of December and the first week of January, thereby losing sales for the year-end holidays and fundraising. These activities make up over one quarter of our annual revenue.
If we are to survive this catastrophe, we earnestly need your help. We have a 501C3 status and your donations are tax deductible within the full extent of the law. No contribution is too small.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity during this trying time.
Haki R. Madhubuti on behalf of the Third World Press Foundation Staff and Volunteers