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Walter Mosley Traveling in the Spirit of Carter G. Woodson


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9781574780253.jpgI read the quote below on Facebook today. I know Paul and heard this story before. But today when I read this story, I thought, a post I made recently made suggesting that Walter Mosley does not support AALBC.com.  Upon reflection I was really wrong about that.

“Walter Mosley who was probably traveling in Woodson’s spirit when he hooked me up to publish his Gone Fishin’ in 1996.

Walter was a best selling author even then. he wanted to make sure that some Black publisher would benefit from his wealth and fame. he made sure that I was in full control and learned the ropes of negotiating 6 and 7 figure deals. with that experience he made it possible for me to serve as Ta-nehisi’s advisor and mentor today, that is territory aside from being his father.

Walter did what Woodson visioned. I know Black Classic Press and our readers are forever grateful. Broke as hell I went with into a nest of white publishers that wanted to control that book and me. Walter was a lion. He basically told them to fuck off, keep their money because they were not going to control the book or my publishing. and then he went further, I joke with him about this today, he told them that if he and i had to stand on street corners with tin cups begging in our community for the money to publish we would. Dude was like crazy but on it. short story is we didn't have to an’ the book went on to be one his best sellers.”—W. Paul Coates, Publisher Black Classic Press

Often I talk about the "Black Book Ecosystem," one of the most important aspects of this ecosystem is that you derive benefits even if those benefits were not provided directly to you.  

Walter could have easily sold the book to WW Norton, but he went out of his way to sell it to Black Classic Press (BCP).  Indeed Walter may have helped keep BCP in business.  BCP supports many other Black business and authors, including AALBC.com. If BCP did not exist or was substantially weaker than it is today, the entire Black book ecosystem would be weaker.  Walter's one book deal has positively impacted the Black Book System in more ways than I can possibly envision.

I would like to see this happen more frequently.  I have a feeling it will.  

May we all will travel in the spirit of Carter G. Woodson

In the video below Walter relates this story.


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