- About Us
Founded in 1978, Black Classic Press is devoted to publishing obscure and significant works by and about people of African descent. We specialize in republishing works that are out of print and quite often out of memory. We began publishing because we wanted to extend the memory of what we believe are important books that have helped in meaningful ways to shape the Black diasporic experience and our understanding of the world.
In 1978, when we started publishing, three elders were inspirations and gave their support - John G. Jackson, John Henrik Clarke and Yosef ben-Jochannan. We are informed by the examples of these three giants. Each of these elders contributed in their own special way to our publishing efforts.
John G. Jackson was steadfast that we should publish the works of Stanley Lane-Poole and Gerald Massey. He was thrilled to write the introduction for The Moors in Spain. He saw Lane-Poole's work as seminal, and Massey's work as a critical foundation for understanding African history. Brother Jackson also encouraged us to republish the original edition of Introduction to African Civilizations, a book he co-authored in 1937 with Willis Huggins.
John G. Jackson made his transition and became an ancestor in 1993.
Another tremendous supporter was John Henrik Clarke. He was inspiring, and provided the guidance of a wise elder and father. Passionate about the books he'd read, he carried them around in his conversations as living memories. He frequently shared those memories with me as a list of "must be republished" books. He liked the idea of Black Classic Press, and acknowledged the value and importance of our efforts on numerous occasions. In addition to directing us to books for republication, he also assisted us by writing introductions and authoring titles for the press.
Dr. Clarke was a warrior, and a scholar. He made his transition and became an ancestor in 1998. The books we publish today are a celebration of his legacy.
Just as important to BCP is Yosef ben-Jochannan. My relationship with Dr. Ben began in the early 1970s. At that time I was a bookseller, and sold all of his books, then published by Alkebu-lan Book Associates. His books have revolutionized the way Black people relate to African and the Nile Valley.For years he was his own editor and financed the publishing of his books from lecture fees and his salary. Working most often by himself, or at times with a trusted assistant, such as Prof. George Simmonds, he researched, typed and illustrated all of his books. Most of the elaborate pen and ink drawings found in his books of the temples, pyramids and maps of the Nile Valley are his illustrations. Dr. Ben made his transition on March 19, 2015 at the age of 96.
The works of John G. Jackson, John Henrik Clarke and Yosef ben-Jochannan are included on this site. On the left you can find a link to each of their pages and also find their titles listed in our complete online catalog. I am strongly convinced that any library of Black books is incomplete without their works. I encourage you to embrace our elders and reward yourself by ordering their books. Their contributions are many and we are forever grateful.
W. Paul Coates