……I was very sorry to hear of your illness on WPFW, where I first discovered you thanks to your “Wednesday Morning Jazz: Freedom Sounds with Brother Hodari.” I had rarely heard such combination of spiritual consciousness (music) and talk on the radio. And now I mourn as you have now joined The Realm of the Ancestors.
From the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal email group:
Pyramid Bookstore Founder Hodari Ali has died.
Pyramid Books was the name of his first bookstore on Georgia Ave., near the campus of Howard University. It was opened after the San Diego native had a Great College Career at Howard University. A Communications major, he was instrumental in the publishing of The Hilltop, a Daily Newspaper College Newspaper.
He went on to start a company called LIBERATION INFORMATION, where i first heard about and finally got to meet him. He was our counterpart in the Washington D.C. area to us in Harlem, N.Y.C (United Brothers Communications Systems) in the distribution of an historic publication (s) called Africa and Africa Woman magazines.
In Harlem United Brothers opened more than 500 that sold, citywide, retail establishments that, reluctantly in the beginning since most were not Black owned, the magazines. In Washington D.C. Liberation Information not only opened retail establishments to sell the magazines, he opened the accounts to sell other black literature (Books especially) and established collection routes that ranged as far south as Richmond, Virginia. We followed his lead in NYC: selling Black Books in unorthodox places (grocery stores, candy store & etc).
This was a great time for Black America; a time that set the groundwork that helped Black Booksellers to build an “Independent Marketplace” that was ready to distribute it, when Sister Sharazad Ali published her monumental Bestselling book “The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman” in 1989.
Sister Sharazad Ali restricted the selling of her book exclusively to Black Booksellers for most of the first year; so as United Brothers was saturating NYC with The Blackman’s Guide in NYC, Hodari Ali was doing the same in the DC area, opening first one bookstore, then in rapid secession he opened 4 (four more). He purchased the unheard of amount of more than $10,000 cash worth of books from United Brothers, with a like amount of other products – Message to the Blackman, Stolen Legacy, Mis-Education of the Negro, Supreme Wisdom, Fall of America & Our Savior Has Arrived; and the book that is a virtual “bible” for the pending Reparations Movement, Dr. Imari Obadele’s edited book with contributors Attorney’s Chokwe Lumumba and Nkechi Taifa: REPARATIONS, YES!
Hodari Ali was in the forefront of a never before time when Black people actually took control over a vital aspect of the Black Liberation Struggle. This was development of a Liberation Literary Marketplace. Never before had Black people had ready availability to our Vital information: an entire generation of Independent Black Business men and women was established on something as vital to the Liberation necessities of a Freedom bound people.
Of course the businesses included our, essential, Black Vendors, but Hodari Ali who’d been there from the beginning had now opened the largest chain of Black owned bookstores in the history of black people in America…..we have lost a Giant Servant among us…
We will soon hear much more about the life and times of Hodari Ali, and his work in other aspects of life, including his leadership in the Sudan, but as a Bookseller, today i focused, in brief, on his work to ensure that the vital information needs of black people or not only known, but are easily obtained……………