“Five Independent Presses Celebrating Black Culture”
When thinking of a theme for my next roundup of notable indie presses, a quote by writer and actress (and more amazing things) Issa Rae came to mind. While attending the Emmy’s in 2017, a reporter asked Rae who she was rooting for, and she responded by saying, “I’m rooting for everybody black.” And then it dawned on me. I should have written this post months ago!
So I went on the hunt to find the independent presses that were founded by black people and publishing amazing titles with a black audience in mind, and boy did I find them. These amazing book businesses are built around strong background stories and intimate and uplifting missions for the work that they are doing. I can’t wait for you to hear them.
I felt inspired reading about their stories and the books they produce. Each publisher found their own niche in the market that wasn’t met at the time, and then they filled it, and then filled it some more. The amazing work that they put out needs to be noticed and raved about.
So here it is, my top 5 independent presses that are celebrating black culture. Read about them, find out what they’re up to, and support them!
(What better way to show your support for black businesses than by investing in and supporting their products? Lucky for you, I’ve included links their websites and online bookstores!)
Cassava Republic Press
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, cofounder of Cassava Republic Press says, “We want to convert minds. We want to convert them to begin to question who they are but also [to] question society.”
She and Jeremy Weate founded this indie press in 2006 in Abuja, Nigera but have now expanded their business to the UK as well. They publish a wide variety of books, including fiction and nonfiction for adults as well as children, all with the intent of having the black and African person be reflected in literature.
Bakare-Yusuf thinks that “In any society, you have to see yourself reflected in what your consuming.” They want to inspire readers to start asking questions about African writing while publishing titles that accurately portray daily life and culture in Africa.
Black Classic Press
Up and running since 1978, Black Classic Press publishes books that are uplifting and educational to the black community.
W. Paul Coates started this publishing journey over 40 years ago in Baltimore, Maryland, printing out small pamphlets at first. But since then, BCP has grown tremendously and is now known as one of the oldest and finest Independent Black Publishers in America.
Black Classic Press specializes in republishing work that is out of print but worthy of being remembered, bringing back to life pieces that they believe have contributed to the shaping of the Black diaspora experience. The work they are doing to give younger generations access to this priceless information is truly commendable.
After seeing there were not enough black voices in typical lesbian publishing, Lisa C. Moore decided she would have to create her own.
In 1997, Redbone Press began publishing work that celebrated the cultures of black lesbians, but in 2004, it began to include black gay men to its catalog as well. Their mission states that they publish work “that further promotes understanding between black gays and lesbians and the black mainstream.”
New Beacon Books
May I introduce you, or reintroduce you, to the UK’s first black publisher: New Beacon Books!
John La Rose and his partner Sarah White founded New Beacon in 1966, aiming to make literature available to their community with books from a wide variety of places and cultures. Now, New Beacon even has a bookstore in London to sell their beautiful fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books!
And the community loves them for it. When faced with the tough decision to close their bookstore, due to its no longer being economically viable, the community fought back with the donation of their time, their money, and a successful crowd funding campaign.
Just Us Books
What started as a search for good children’s books about black history and black experiences for their own kids, transformed into a journey of making those books themselves.
It all started in 1987 when Wade and Cheryl Hudson couldn’t find a publisher for the book they created. Out of necessity, they published AFRO-BETS ABCBook on their own.
They received amazing feedback from schools and families, praising them for creating something so unique and helpful to the black community. They went on to build a lasting business that produces amazing educational children’s books that target the black community. Their books have even gone on to win prestigious awards!
Thank you for reading “5 Independent Presses Celebrating Black Culture!” If you liked it, check out what else IBR has been up to at the buttons below.