HarperCollins Acquires Amistad Press

Posted on October 27, 1999

HarperCollins Publishers has announced that it has acquired assets of Amistad Press, a publisher of works by and about African Americans. Charles F. Harris, Amistad's founder and publisher, will join HarperCollins as Vice President, Editorial Director of this new imprint and as an Executive Editor of the HarperCollins General Books Group. He will report to Cathy Hemming, President and Publisher of the HarperCollins General Books Group.

"This is a significant and exciting opportunity for HarperCollins. We have great respect for Charles and for all he has accomplished with Amistad Press over the last 13 years. He has provided many authors with an opportunity to publish important books of special interest to the African-American community," said Jane Friedman, President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers. "Charles brings his distinguished reputation and singular publishing experience to HarperCollins where his work will enhance and strengthen our rich tradition of African-American publishing. We are thrilled to provide Charles with a framework to continue his meaningful work."

Harris founded Amistad Press in 1986 to specialize in the works of African-American authors and books on African American themes. Its publishing program includes works by Arthur R. Ashe, Susan Taylor, Congressman William L. Clay, as well as the critically acclaimed Amistad Literary Series which features critical studies of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison.

Harris began his publishing career in 1956 at Doubleday & Company where, in 1965, as editor in Doubleday's Publishing Division he launched the Zenith Book Series for elementary school students, the first series in the U.S. to present the history of America's minorities. He later worked for John Wiley & Sons and Random House. At Random House, he launched Amistad, a paperback magazine for college humanities and social sciences courses published in 1970. In 1971, he was recruited to create and manage the Howard University Press, where he served as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Publishing Operations until 1986. In addition, Harris established the Howard University Press Publishing Institute for students interested in pursuing publishing careers.