Days before Christmas, disaster struck the nation’s oldest Black owned-publisher, Third World Press when a burst pipe destroyed the majority of their inventory.
“To say that we are devastated is an understatement,” wrote Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti, a famed Black poet, who founded the Chicago-based publisher in 1967, on a GoFundMe.
Works from many of their best-sellers, including “Gwendolyn Brooks, Chancellor Williams, Adelaide Sanford, Fred Hord, Diane Turner, [and] Thabiti Lewis,” were destroyed. In the GoFundMe, Madhubuti says that they do a lot of their business around Christmas and Kwanzaa and that losing so much inventory during their peak season was financially disastrous.
Madhubuti told Forbes that he estimates the damage from the flood amounted to roughly 300 thousand dollars.
While the flood very nearly could have been the end for the historic publisher, donors have been stepping up to fill the gap. Their GoFundMe has raised more than $100,000 to fix the damages. Some of the funding has come from unexpected places. Kyrie Irving donated $50,000 to the publisher.
Madhubuti told Forbes that even the small donations have really added up. The GoFundMe has already surpassed its original goal of $95,000, although it seems that sum didn’t account for the full extent of the damage.
“I think we put the GoFundMe nonprofit page up on a Friday, and within a week or so, we saw people were responding,” Madhubuti told Forbes. “It multiplied. And people who had not contacted us in years came to help. And what happened? I see it as a movement equated to what we were doing in the sixties and the seventies. It was a movement to save an institution because they knew -one- that I love black people, that’s number one. But they knew also that Third World Press was a publisher of record.”