A few days ago when my August 2010 post about Liberation Bookstore and Una Mulzac blew up with hits, I knew it was a signal that this matriarch and soldier in the army of black political struggle had, as one headline read, "joined the ancestors."
Like many who lived outside of the Harlem community, and outside of NY state for that matter, I "knew" Una Mulzac and Liberation Bookstore more by reputation than by personal experience. In a wonderful culturally-conscious period between the early '80s through the mid-'90s, I heard the name of Liberation Bookstore invoked by brothers and sisters at black cultural fairs, literary conferences and black arts festivals in my hometown of Baltimore. From what these sisters and brothers said, I learned that Liberation Bookstore was a mecca where the conscious, the righteous brotherhood and sisterhood traveled to fortify themselves with black literature but also to meet up with other disciples of black culture who patronized Liberation and admired Una Mulzac.
I don't remember when I learned that the owner of Liberation Bookstore was a woman, but that news was indeed liberating for me. Una Mulzac was likely the first contemporary Black woman that I heard of who, as an entrepreneur, was dedicated to providing her community with black literature. Liberation became a destination that I kept faith to visit one day. Fortunately, I did visit several times, and listened first-hand to Una Mulzac talk about her father's dedication to the cause, and her own life devoted to freedom and human rights.
My post on Liberation Bookstore after the Harlem Bookfair in 2010 has been one of the consistently popular posts on this blog; I offer it here again in tribute to Una Mulzac, with gratitude for the example that she set for me to pursue a life devoted to books, according to my own interests, in the promotion of education and the progress of Black people.
In addition, two obituaries (you will need to sign up for accounts):
Liberation Bookstore owner, Una G. Mulzac, passes at 88, by Herb Boyd, Special to the Amsterdam News
Una Mulzac, Bookseller With Passion for Black Politics, Dies at 88, by Douglas Martin, NYT, Feb. 4, 2012