“Black owned bookstores are not just in business to sell books. Their mission is to make sure that the information they are carrying expands their community and expands the minds of the people in the community.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The origins of today’s black owned bookstores can be traced to New York in the 1800s. It was there that Black abolitionist, writer and publisher David Ruggles operated the nation’s first black-owned bookstore, where he sold anti-slavery publications until a mob destroyed the store.
Along with protesting, donating to worthwhile organizations, and sliding into peoples’ Venmos, many non-Black allies are taking the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations as inspiration to educate themselves. I am, too, because, frankly, it’s long overdue.
As Angela Davis said, it’s not enough to be not racist – we must be actively anti-racist.
Books are a great tool to educate yourself on Black history, culture, and living a life of anti-racism. But be sure you’re buying them from Black owned businesses.
In today’s post I’ve collected eight noteworthy Black-owned independent bookstores that provide online ordering. This list isn’t even CLOSE to being exhaustive, obviously. It was my goal to share a variety of shops around the country.
These are stores that specialize in certain genres, like scifi and nonfiction. They give back to the community they’re based in. They focus on children and education. They are Feminist, and Black-woman-owned.
If you have recommendations that I didn’t cover, feel free to contact me and share them in the comments!
I also encourage you to read Literary Hub’s article “You can order today from these black-owned independent bookstores.” There, you’ll find a much more thorough list.