NEW DAY PRESS was a nonprofit publishing company committed to eliminating racial stereotypes and historical distortions by publishing new literature for black schoolchildren that presented the story of AFRICAN AMERICANS in American history with dignity and from an African American perspective. The books were written by black authors about blacks for black students to stimulate and inform them about heroes and history that was not adequately addressed, if at all, in the general textbooks.
The idea for a black publishing enterprise originated in 1969, when CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY sponsored a conference on "Books That Don't Exist: Literature for Inner-City Children." Following their participation in writers' conferences in 1970 and 1971, a group of local teachers, librarians, and writers, including ROBERT SOUTHGATE, formed the Metro Writers Workshop. At the behest of EAST CLEVELAND teachers, the Metro Writers produced written works dealing with the African-American experience which were successfully field-tested in elementary schools in East Cleveland, leading to the launching of the New Day Press in January 1972 to make the books available to a larger reading audience. The first publications issued by the press were six paperback books on pre-Civil War black history, and in 1974, it published a series of five paperbacks on black history during the Reconstruction. Later publications included short narratives about African Americans in Ohio, family tales in the oral tradition, and picture story books introducing young children to Mary McLeod Bethune, a noted civil rights activist and educator, and Mae C. Jemison, the first black female astronaut. In 1995, the New Day Press published Black Achievers 1880-1920, a collection of biographical sketches of eight prominent blacks of that era, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and GARRETT MORGAN. In 2002, the press published A Galaxy of Cleveland's Black Stars, an anthology of 22 biographies of distinguished black Clevelanders, and The Sky is a Long Way to Jump, featuring poems and color illustrations by nearly 100 area children.
Most of the books published by the New Day Press were developed with the participation of the Metro Writers Workshop, which served as the vehicle for recruiting and training writers. The workshop offered a series of free monthly lessons for prospective writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Located at KARAMU HOUSE, the New Day Press sold its merchandise to schools in Cleveland, East Cleveland, and Akron, and shipped orders to Canada and the Caribbean as well as all across the United States. Much of the cost of publishing was financed by grants from such sources as the Ohio Arts Council, the Ohio Humanities Council, the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, the United Black Fund, and several local foundations, including the JENNINGS, GUND, and Nordson foundations. The New Day Press hosted an annual Black History Celebration for the whole family, featuring readings of works by black writers. As of 2004, Mary Moore served as the president of the New Day Press and Ebraska Dalton Ceasor as the treasurer.