12 Black-Owned Bookstores to Buy from Today—And Every Day
Looking to read up on Black history, culture, and racial injustice? Show your support by buying from these Black-owned bookstores.
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As our country wakes up to the realities of racial injustice and police brutality, it is our duty to educate ourselves and take action to support the cause of Black Lives Matter. We can and must support the movement through every possible avenue. There are organizations helping on the front lines that still need our financial support.
One way to both educate ourselves and support Black-owned businesses is by purchasing books from Black-owned bookstores. In order to further your education in Black history and racial injustice, start with these essential books for understanding race relations in America.
Now is the time to put your money where your mouth is.
Semicolon Bookstore – Chicago, Illinois
As a woman-owned bookstore, Semicolon provides a community space to learn, explore, and be heard. Semicolon aims to “nurture the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge.” Further, the small, caring team at Semicolon listens to the needs of their community and helps to fund outreach organizations. The business has a personal touch that allows them to pay attention to those most in need.
Every action has an impact—try these 14 small ways you can fight racism every day.
A Cultural Exchange – Cleveland, Ohio
This nonprofit, multicultural art organization was founded in 1991 by a group of African-American women. The nonprofit aims to provide educational, literacy, and arts programming to the youth in their community and around the world. Further, their mission includes increasing accessibility to literature for children and providing an avenue for the next generation to learn about their history.
AfriWare Books – Maywood, Illinois
AfriWare prides itself on not only being a bookstore but a place that encourages cultural literacy. As a platform, AfriWare “showcases authors, artists, and advocates who infuse us with a sense of cultural pride.” The shop hosts events, speakers, and other activities to engage the community and provide a place that is deeply invested in information, education, and celebration.
Also, don’t miss these documentaries about race to continue the often difficult, yet important work.
Sistah Scifi (online only)
Sistah Scifi is a specialized Black-owned bookstore and “cauldron” of science fiction, speculative fiction, and all things afro-futuristic. This female-centric shop runs the gauntlet from magical realism to horror to voodoo with a focus on Black female authors. Moreover, with appearances and events to support more fringe and sci-fi-focused Black art, this store houses a can’t miss-collection of intriguing and compelling literature and products. Also, make sure to check out their amazing Black female author merch.
MahoganyBooks – Washington, DC
MahoganyBooks is an independent bookstore that promotes literacy and cultural engagement. Specializing in books “written for, by, and about people of African Diaspora,” MahoganyBooks hosts both local and nation-wide events to support Black communities. The store’s owners, husband-and-wife duo Derrick and Ramunda Young, feel that reading, writing, and knowledge can help uplift self-esteem and create self-love for and within their communities.
We must work as a society to do better—we must become anti-racist and support the Black Lives Matter movement now and forever.
Best Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum – Tampa, Florida
This bookstore and museum provide multiple avenues to learn and engage with Black and African history. As a way to continue the missions of preservation, education, and enlightenment, the museum explores the history and surrounding narratives of enslavement, segregation, and racism. Also, the store features a collection of early African-American literature, first-editions, signed novels, and rare books.
Black Dot Cultural Center – Lithonia, Georgia
Founded by Adigun Kazemde Ajamu, activist and author of Think Black: The Manifesto, Black Dot Cultural Center is a bookstore that meets at the intersection of community, education, and outreach. According to Kazemde, “The Black Dot is an ancient Afrikan symbol for Blackness” that he uses in his brand. He aims to engage with bringing the “unconscious state to the conscious knowing.” Additionally, the Black Dot Brand and bookstore highlight Black communities and help them find their voice, their power, and their pride.
Cafe con Libros – Brooklyn, New York
Branded as a feminist bookstore, Cafe con Libros provides an intersectional community safe space for womyn and girls of all backgrounds. As part coffee shop and part bookstore, this small shop offers resources and books for both children and adults. With book clubs, comfy seats, and tasty drinks—this spot is all about love, affirmation, and outstanding female voices.
Knowledge is crucial. Educate yourself to try and understand why desegregation didn’t put an end to racism in America.
Black World Books – Killeen, Texas
This bookstore provides a space to discuss, learn, and explore African-American and Black culture. Owned by Maeva Jackson, Black World Books focuses on activism, education, and history as it “Rocks the Boat of Thought.” Also, as a mother herself, Jackson prioritizes events for the Black youth in her community. She aims to spread love and knowledge through Central Texas and the world beyond. Additionally, the store offers film, art, and healing products.
Frugal Bookstore – Roxbury, Massachusettes
As a community bookstore, Frugal promotes literature through accessible pricing and highlighting important titles. Owners Leonard and Clarissa Egerton have expanded a family business into a family-focused business. Further, by upholding community literacy, they provide support that goes beyond the pages of a book. They aim to “change minds, one book at a time.”
Also, here’s why you should stop saying “I don’t see color.”
Mocha Books – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Mocha Books champions three main goals: fostering a love of reading, highlighting Black and Brown protagonists, and providing visibility to BIPOC writers. Additionally, Mocha Books prides itself on providing a place for children and adults alike to see themselves in their literature. At the same time, the store functions as a resource for Black authors and authors of color to reach wider audiences. Also, with a special focus on indie titles, this bookstore amplifies lesser-heard voices on a large scale.
The Pan-African Connection – Dallas, Texas
The vision of the store is to connect “African people scattered globally with our great history, culture, and collective strength.” The owners want to remind the world that Black history started long before slavery. Moreover, the store does not just provide books but supports educational programs, community workshops, and other resources for the Black and African community far and wide. They also encourage both positivity and healing alongside knowledge and understanding.
This list is not exhaustive—there are many other Black-owned bookstores that need and deserve your support. Don’t stop there, keep educating yourself with these podcasts about race to keep the momentum going.
For more on this important issue, see our guide to the Fight Against Racism.