The National Black United Front’s (NBUF) Houston chapter is asking for community support after a fire caused extensive damage to its headquarters. The Third Ward structure, also known as the “Black House,” is located at 2428 Southmore.

Kofi Taharka, NBUF national chairman, said the building was ravaged by fire, smoke and water damage on April 17, and they were “blessed” that no one was injured. Items damaged or destroyed included furniture, computer equipment, a television and office supplies. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

As part of its rebuilding process, NBUF has started a Mighty Cause online campaign for financial contributions. In addition, NBUF recently held a two-day community salvage and clean-up.

“We’re still trying to determine what’s good and what isn’t,” Taharka said. He added that the building was insured, “and that’s a whole process you have to go through.”

Taharka is unsure when the building will be inhabitable again. NBUF is currently holding its regular weekly meetings at 7 p.m. on Mondays at SHAPE Community Center, 3903 Almeda.

NBUF Houston is part of a 38-year-old national organization comprised ofindividuals and organizations working together for the benefit of people of African descent. Taharka was been involved with NBUF for more than 25 years and has served as national chair for nine years.

In 1995 the Houston chapter acquired and began renovating its current headquarters, which was a former dilapidated “crack house.” The headquarters opened in 1997.

“The organization is not the building,” Taharka said, “but the building has enabled us to raise our level of advocacy and social justice.”

NBUF programs include African-Centered Education, Feed the Hood, Sankofa Study Circle, Acoli/Sankofa Community Garden, Buy Black initiatives and the annual Sankofa Caravan to the Ancestors.

Taharka remains optimistic about the future. “Our goal is to recover, rebuild and be even better than we were before,” he said.

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