Portrait of Haki Madhubuti as a young poet and activist.

"Haki Madhubuti, Poet and publisher who stayed the course"

Howard University has played a central role for Haki Madhubuti.

Dr. Haki Madhubuti is a man driven by passion for black culture and literature.

Haki Madhubuti: Poet, Publisher, Essayist


Think Black – 1967
Black Pride – 1968
Don't Cry; Scream – 1969

We Walk the Way of the New World – 1970
Directionscore: Selected and New Poems – 1971
Kwanzaa: A Progressive and Uplifting African American Holiday – 1972
Book of Life – 1973
Black People and the Coming Depression (w/Kunjufu)1975
Enemies: The Clash of Races – 1978
From Plan to Planet Life Studies: The Need for Afrikan Minds and Institutions – 1979
Think Black! – 1983
Earthquakes and Sun Rise Missions: Poetry and Essays of Black Renewal 1973-1983 – 1987
Killing Memories – 1987
Seeking Ancestors –
Black Men, Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: The Afrikan American Family in Transition 1991
African-Centered Education: Its Value, Importance, and Necessity in the Development of Black Children – 1991
Confusion by Any Other Name: Essays Exploring the Negative Impact of the Blackman's Guide To Understanding the Black Woman –
Why L.A. Happened: Implications of the '92 Los Angeles Rebellion –
Claiming Earth: Race, Rage, Rape, Redemption: Blacks Seeking a Culture of Enlightened Empowerment –
Million Man March/Day of Absence: A Commemorative Anthology, Speeches, Commentary, Photography, Poetry, Illustrations & Documents –
Groundwork: New and Selected Poems, Don L. Lee/Haki R. Madhubuti from 1966 - 1996 –
Heartlove: Wedding and Love Poems –
Tough Notes: A Healing Call for Creating Exceptional Black Men
– 2002
Developmental Manual for Young Black Males
(w/Perkins) 2002
Colored on Arrival: Don L. Lee to Haki Madhubuti (memoirs) –
Run Toward Fear: New Poems and a Poet's Handbook –
YellowBlack: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet's Life –
All Voices Matter: Artists, Intellectuals, Students and War –
Black Culture Centers: Politics of Survival and Identity –
2008 Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems: 1966-2009– 2009
Honoring Genius: The Narrative of Craft, Art, Kindness and Justice: Poems –


Say That the River Turns: The Impact of Gwendolyn Brooks – 1991
Gallery 37: Releasing the Spirit –
Gallery 37: Describe the Moment –
By Any Means Necessary Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented-

Selected Honors

Sidney R. Yates Art Advocacy Award, Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation Award – 1988
American Book Award – 1991
Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Poets Award – 1992
ETA Creative Arts Foundation's "Epic Men of the 20th Century" Award – 1992
Paul Robeson Award, African American Arts Alliance – 1993
Lifetime Visionary Award, African Poetry Theater Inc. – 1993
Models of Achievement – 1995
Honorary Doctorate from DePaul University – 1996
"Haki R. Madhubuti Day" Little Rock, AK – 1999
Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award – 2002
Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award - 2014
(Also recognized were Ian Frasier and Joyce Carol Oates)

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas and growing up in Detroit, Don L. Lee found refuge in the ideas of others through the books they’d written. He began writing poetry in high school, and has become one of the most prolific poets in America today. He is a major figure in the Black Arts movement, which began in the 1960s.

His love of writers and thinkers, particularly the early influencers of the developing civil rights movement, helped shape his life. Always a hard worker, Lee used $400 that he had received from reading his poetry to publish black writers. In a Chicago basement with two other African-American writers, he launched Third World Press, that today, nearly half a century later, is the largest independent black-owned publishing house in the nation.

In 1972, Don L. Lee changed his name to Haki Madhubuti, Swahili words meaning “just” or “justice,” and “accurate and dependable” to better reflect his cultural identity.
Madhubuti earned his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1984, and among his many honors and achievements includes founding of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University, teaching at several universities, and reading poetry in almost every state in the union. He cofounded the Institute of Positive Education/ New Concept Development Center in 1969, and the Betty Shabazz International Charter School in 1998.

Interview Movie
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Chicago, IL

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Poet, Publisher, Essayist




Detroit, MI

Youthful Influence:

Richard Wright's Black Boy, Margaret and Charlie Burroughs, Malcolm X, Dudley Randall, Hoyt W. Fuller, Barbara Ann Sizemore, Gwendolyn Brooks.

Favorite Authors:

Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Margaret Walker , Amiri Baraka, Sterling Plumpp

Creative Habit:

Every day – "it keeps me alive." Rises early, performs ablutions, walks while writing in his head. Then writes in longhand on a legal pad.

Dr. Haki Madhubuti is a most remarkable man and we are proud to have interviewed him.

The sign on Dr. Madhubuti's door.
"We writers, we poets, we artists . . . a part of our responsibility is to not only motivate but be the carriers of this culture, the carriers of that which is true."

traditional African art . . .

and political icons, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Third World Press displays a mix of contemporary art . . .

cultural icons . . .

Contact: info@authorsroad.com