About Us

In Black Ink creates spaces where the stories and voices of people of African heritage are celebrated, documented, and archived through publications, professional development training opportunities, and public presentations.
Why is IBI necessary?
Only four percent of all books published in the US are about people of African heritage (Lee & Low, 2015), with very few publishers of African Heritage nationally. Based on preliminary research of the local statewide publishing industry, there have been no publishing houses owned or ran by people of African heritage from 1817 to 1990 (D. Joyce, 1991); & no documented agencies in the last 20 years since. A survey of 70 publishers in the US and Canada, including Penguin Random House, and Macmillan (two of the top 5 in the nation) found that the publishing agencies are primarily run by people of European heritage, with 2% nationwide people of African Heritage in the leadership. Despite agreements to diversify the publishing world, over 20 years later, the industry still looks very similar. Creative MN (2015) provided “the most comprehensive report of the non-profit creative sector.” Data reveals MN surpasses the U.S. level of the number of artists in the workforce, holding the highest employment concentration in the book publishing industry in the country, at 5.2 times the national average. This is very exciting, indicating the viability of our local industry; but it is also quite sad, as there is little to no representation of organizations and individuals from the African descent community or organizations that produce work about people of African heritage.
In Black Ink’s Name and History
In Black Ink (IBI) was named by Rondo Poet Laureate Tish Jones. Sister Tish came up with the name in a brainstorming session at the Minnesota Regenerative Publishing Project retreat in 2016. The name In Black Ink invokes the spirit of IBI’s mission which is to help develop and advance the African heritage community in Minnesota in the publishing arts industry. From building the capacity in Black people to support artists, authors, and regenerative creative processes in Black communities, IBI is a different type of institution that fills the gap between the community and this vision. IBI was established as a non-profit 501 c 3 charitable institution in 2018.
First 2 Rondo Children’s story books on display at Hallie Q. Brown

More on the Minnesota Regenerative Publishing Project

The MN Regenerative Publishing Project’s purpose was to create a plan to increase the access, engagement, and visibility of people of African descent in the Publishing Arts industry. In doing this we hope to create a process that provides for the consistent creation, sharing, and distributing of these missing narratives. A group of over 20 inter-generational consultants from across the state of Minnesota came together to discuss strategies to fulfill this purpose. A central idea was to create an institution that could support the publishing arts professions and industry within the African-American/ Black /African heritage community in Minnesota. This support includes 1) Accessing funds from the State, foundations, and other grant-giving organizations to support this publishing arts initiative. 2) Creating a centralized database to showcase and provide access to the literary work of artists and other publishing arts professionals of African descent in Minnesota. 3) Provide opportunities for novice and others interested in the publishing arts to enhance their skills and knowledge to allow them to better gain access to the industry and/or strengthen their skills and marketability in the field.

Download the full PDF report.

Rekhet Si-Asar, MA, Ed.S.
Executive Director

Rekhet was a publisher at Papyrus Publishing Inc. She is a School Psychologist in the Minneapolis Public School District and a volunteer coordinator/instructor at the Imhotep Science Academy (a K-8 Cultural STEM Saturday program in Saint Paul). She was the Board Chair for the Cultural Wellness Center in Minneapolis and is currently on the U of M Friends of the Library Board. Rekhet at heart is a creator, with training in fashion/illustrative arts. She enjoys creating art through her sewing, drawing, and writing. Rekhet is married and has three children.
Mayor Melvin Carter visits and supports local art organizations at the Walker West Music Center – Reveal of Artist Ta-Coumba T. Aiken’s murals
Mayor Carter sharing Rondo stories with the babies at MAAHMG Reading Circle
Local videographers – Adrian Mack and Sherine Crooms Onukwuwe
Artika Tyner and Rekhet Si -Asar celebrating release of Rondo Children’s Book Series
Jamela Pettiford singing at the Rondo Children’s Books release
Community writing workshop collaboration with Black Table Arts – held at the High School for Recording Arts

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St. Paul, MN 55104
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