The tragic murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has sent the country reeling. Nationwide protests are the most visible expression of grief and anger, but people are also seeking a greater understanding of how something like this could have happened. Many are attempting to grasp the extent of racial inequality in America, and a big part of doing that is self-education through reading.
Whether it’s books that delve into the nuances of racism and white fragility, history books illuminating the past 300 years of struggle and oppression, or impactful novels by Black authors, reading is a great way to educate yourself on the uncomfortable reality of racism and understand the country’s racial struggle, historically and now.
The good news is that more Americans are showing an interest in self-education and a willingness to broaden their perspectives. Unfortunately, the go-to bookseller in the US is Amazon — a massive corporate entity whose sales don’t entirely benefit the authors and help make a white billionaire richer.
There are hundreds of independent, Black-owned bookshops across the US that could use your patronage now more than ever, in person and online. Whether you’re looking for books on racial issues, or just browsing for a light quarantine read, Amazon doesn’t need your support right now. Black businesses do. Here are some Black-owned bookshops around the US to keep in mind for your next purchase.
Brave and Kind Books, Decatur, GA
Semicolon, Chicago, IL
Brain Lair Books, South Bend, IN
Afriware Books, Mayware, IL
Detroit Book City, Detroit, MI
Mahogany Books, Washington, DC
MeJah Books, Claymont, DE
Loyalty Books, Washington, DC
Uncle Bobbie’s, Philadelphia, PA
Harriott’s Bookshop, Philadelphia, PA
Ashay by the Bay, Vallejo, CA
Eso Won Books, Los Angeles, CA
The Lit Bar, Bronx, NY
Cafe con Libros, Brooklyn, NY
Sisters Uptown Bookstore, NYC, NY
Frugal Bookstore, Roxbury, MA
Dare Books, Longwood, FL
A more comprehensive list of black-owned bookstores in each state is available here.