I am a black writer, who is now, hoping/working for a career as an author. Though my drive was fueled by passion and not money, now I am hoping for this to become a lucrative career. Book Publishing is a business, and I hope to earn money, lots of it. What I do not understand, however, is what little support there is for the organizations that, not only nurture and cultivate developing black writers, but also sustain our visibility in the literary/publishing world and ensure there are resources and opportunities available for us (black authors) too.
I liken this “lack” of support to that of those wish to feast on fine cuisine, but neglect to stock pantries and refrigerators. And we all know the old adage—You won’t miss the water till the well runs dry.
If we consider ourselves black authors, we are being irresponsible if we do not seek out, identify, and support those organizations whose mission is to protect our longevity. We should be supporting these organizations with donations. And if we are not in position to do so financially, then by all means, an offer of our time or talent is better than nothing, at all.
We want the money and, maybe even, the crystal statues. But for those who fight to make a way for us, we owe them more than a “thank you.” And if we don’t support our own organizations, who will do it for us? Some of these are:
The Hurston-Wright Foundation
The NAACP (and the Image Awards)
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College (Organizers of the National Black Writers Conference and Symposium)
The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Langston Hughes Community Library
Black Art in America
Harlem World Magazine
Hue-Man Book Store
Sisters Uptown Book Store
(Support your local black book store and/or book club)
Eartha Watts-Hicks is the author of Love Changes, NAACP New York City literacy ambassador, and a member of the Harlem Writers Guild. In June of 2013, she won the Just R.E.A.D. Award in the fiction category from the NYCHA branch of the NAACP.
The Just R.E.A.D. initiative’s mission is to recognize New York City public schools that raise student body reading scores on standardized tests and honor authors considered to have the potential to positively affect literacy as a whole. With the Just R.E.A.D. initiative, the NYCHA branch of the NAACP will be working hard to eradicate gun violence in underserved African American communities by promoting that “reading is the ‘cool’ thing to do,” conveying the message that “a solid education is the best weapon,” as well as raising money in support of those objectives.
To make a donation in support of this campaign, make check or money order to NAACP-NYCHA branch and send to:
Just R.E.A.D. Initiative
PO Box 972
New York, NY 10008
Photo credit: left to right: Isabelle Pierre, Darlene Taylor, Lisa DuBois (top), Kim Brandon (seated), April Mojica, Miriam Kelly Ferguson, Bernice McFadden (seated), Eartha Watts-Hicks.