Black Bookstore Celebrates 50th Anniversary in San Francisco

By Jamilah King Feb 05, 2010

It’s not easy for independent bookstores these days, especially if you’re a Black-owned business. But Marcus Books, a legendary family-owned bookstore operating in San Francisco’s intensely gentrified Fillmore, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"There was an urgent need to have a source of knowledge about black people," Raye, 89, says while relaxing on a couch just inside the front door of the San Francisco store. ..The store, which stocks 6,000 books by and/or about black people, is on the ground floor of a Victorian built on Laguna Street in 1885. During the 1950s, before being lifted from its foundation and moved to Fillmore Street, it was the home of Jimbo’s Bop City, a famous after-hours club where jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Art Tatum would come to jam or just hang out. Manager Jimbo Edwards lived upstairs. …Blanche, 63, remembers the time Malcolm X came into the store, and her dad, knowing that his visitor was an observant Muslim, jokingly offered "to buy him a pork chop down the street."

If you’re in town, come celebrate next Monday at Yoshi’s in the city.