Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vital vanguard, wonderful warriors: Marcus Books and Black Classic Press

Marcus Books, the legendary Black book store that for more than 50 years has been the intellectual heart of African American life in the Fillmore district in San Francisco, is facing a forced eviction -- or may have already been evicted -- as announced in a San Francisco Examiner article, "Marcus Books on the brink of closure"  (June 9).

The Victorian residence at 1712 Fillmore St. that Marcus has occupied for years was purchased, and the new owners had an eviction notice issued to the store with a deadline to leave by the end of this week.

I haven't found an update on any action taken following the eviction deadline this week: Color of Change had a petition soliciting support for the Marcus Books at

Stay tuned, or please share an update if you know what's going on now.

Even as the disheartening news of Marcus Books' crisis circulates, there is uplifting news about another Black book business that is surviving, even thriving.

An article in Publishers Weekly recently announced that Black Classic Press founded by publisher Paul Coates in Baltimore is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a series of events that included a book signing by Walter Mosley.

Congrats to you, Paul, and Black Classic Press on your 35th anniversary!

Academic institutions, k-12 and higher education institutions, do not adequately integrate narratives that highlight the presence and influence of people of African descent in Western culture and in world history. Black authors, Black publishers and Black book store owners are the vital vanguard, the wonderful warriors, who arm the community with knowledge that affirms our humanity and debunks myths and lies about our history.   

The longevity that Marcus Books and Black Classic Press have accrued in the struggle is quantifiable and worthy of honor, but the real achievement of both institutions is their success in fostering self-realization and self-determination among Black people, and the impact of that achievement is immeasurable.

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