The Authors Road
Like several of the writers we’ve had the great fortune to interview, Haki Madhubuti found his voice in the social, cultural, political, artistic and civil rights turbulence of the 1960s.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas and growing up in Detroit under his given name, Don L. Lee, he discovered answers to his many questions at the local library through the leading black writers of his day. It is also the time when he began writing poetry and essays. His life led him to enlist in the Army, followed by college, and in 1967, an historic gathering in a Chicago basement with two other poets. That meeting resulted in the launch of Third World Press, which today ranks as the largest independent black-owned publishing house in the nation.
In 1972, he changed his name to Haki Madhubuti, Swahili words meaning “just” or “justice,” and “accurate and dependable.” He continued his writing and earned his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1984. During the subsequent five decades he has been recognized with numerous honors, founded several schools, taught at several universities, lectured in almost every state, and become one of the most prolific black writers in America.
We met with Dr. Madhubuti at his offices in South Chicago. He took the time to show us around his extensive personal library, art collection, and the many awards and honors he’s received in his illustrious career before sitting down with us to share his remarkable stories.
We are very pleased to bring his interview with you.