Third World Press Founder

Haki R. Madhubuti

A leading poet and one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, Prof. Haki R. Madhubuti—publisher, editor and educator—has been a pivotal figure in the development of a strong Black literary tradition. He has published more than 30 books (some under his former name, Don L. Lee) and is one of the world’s best-selling authors of poetry and non-fiction. His poetry and essays were published in more than 100 anthologies and journals from 1997 to 2021.

Prof. Madhubuti is a proponent of independent Black institutions. He founded Third World Press in 1967. He is a founder of the Institute of Positive Education/New Concept School (1969), and a cofounder of Betty Shabazz International Charter School (1998), Barbara A. Sizemore Middle School (2005), and DuSable Leadership Academy (2005), all of which are in Chicago. Madhubuti was founder and editor of Black Books Bulletin (1970-1994), a key journal documenting the literature, scholarship and conversations of African American voices for over two decades. He was also a founding member of The Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) Writer's Workshop (1968).

Prof. Madhubuti earned his MFA from the University of Iowa and he received his third honorary Doctor of Letters from Spelman College in May of 2006. His distinguished teaching career includes faculty positions at Columbia College of Chicago, Cornell University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Howard University, Morgan State University, and University of Iowa. He is the former University Distinguished Professor and a professor of English at Chicago State University where he founded and was director-emeritus of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center and director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. Professor Madhubuti served as the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University for 2010-11.

Prof. Madhubuti is an award-winning poet and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, the American Book Award, an Illinois Arts Council Award, the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award and others. In 1985, he was the only poet chosen to represent the United States at the International Valmiki World Poetry Festival in New Delhi, India. In 2006, he was awarded the Literary Legacy Award from the National Black Writers Conference for creating and supporting Black literature and for building Black literary institutions. He was named as a 2007 Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine. In May of 2008, Professor Madhubuti was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Art Sanctuary of Philadelphia.

In 2009, he was named one of the “Ebony Power 150: Most Influential Blacks in America” for education.  In 2010, he was presented with the President’s Pacesetters Award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, and was awarded the Ninth Annual Hurston/Wright Legacy prize in poetry for his book, Liberation Narratives. At the 2013 "Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” Professor Haki R. Madhubuti was inducted into the Hall of Resistance at the Ancient Africa, Enslavement and Civil War Museum in Selma, Alabama; he was honored as the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame 2014 Distinguished Laureate Presenter.  In 2014, Dr. Madhubuti received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award presented by Poets & Writers Magazine; and in April of that year, Dr. Madhubuti and his wife, Dr. Carol D. Lee, were presented with the DuSable Museum’s Dogon Award at the Night of 100 Stars Celebration.

In June 2015, Madhubuti was the first poet to receive a Life Time Achievement Award at the Juneteenth Book Festival Symposium at the Library of Congress; in September 2015, Madhubuti was honored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in the Fine Arts; and in November of that same year, he received the Fuller Award from the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. His most recent recognition includes the 2017 Go On Girl Book Club Literary Legend Award and the 2017 Sutton E. Griggs Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature.

Selected publications:

  • Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? The African American Family in Transition (1990)
  • Don’t Cry, Scream! (1969)
  • Tough Notes: A Healing Call for Creating Exceptional Black Men (2002)
  • Run Toward Fear (2004)
  • YellowBlack: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet’s Life, A Memoir (2006)
  • Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966-2009 (2009)
  • Honoring Genius: Gwendolyn Brooks: The Narrative of Craft, Art, Kindness and Justice (2011)
  • By Any Means Necessary, Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented (co-editor, 2012)
  • Taking Bullets: Terrorism and Black Life in Twenty-First Century America (2016)
  • Taught By Women, Poems as Resistance Language, New and Selected (2020)