Elliot Booker

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro.Elliott, 3-08-20 guest Shawn D. Rochester

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 3/08/2020 at 7:00 PM our guest was Author, Financial Educator, CEO of Good Steward LLC, Shawn D. Rochester. “The Black Tax: The Cost Of Being Black In America”, and related topics was the discussion with our guest, Mr. Shawn Rochester.

Why is Jay-Z’s Criminal Justice Reform Helping To Erase the Struggle to Free Political Prisoners?

Omowale Afrika

Omowale Afrika Feb 25 ·

What’s Free?

“…to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”

~ Assata Shakur

For the past 65 years, the United States of America has avoided answering for its continued crimes against humanity, through the strategic use of “window-dressing” reforms, and handpicked “Negro” ambassadors. The use of Black entertainers to protect America’s image against foreign accusations of human rights violations, was a strategy devised by the Eisenhower administration during the Cold War.

When we examine the modern day Criminal Justice Reform movement, it readily exposes itself as another attempt by America, to cover its long trail of human rights abuses. The movement, as currently constructed, was birthed in the early 2000’s by the Brookings Institute, and was meant to serve as a Democratic Party, policy carrot, during the 2004 election. As fate would have it, this initial push for criminal justice reform was drowned out by the sound of the nations war drums, and wouldn’t be picked up again for more than a decade.

During Barack Obama’s 2nd term in office, the issue of Criminal Justice Reform was put back on the table as a strategic policy baton (i.e. hand-off to Hillary Clinton), for succession planning. Rapper Jay Z, having replaced Reverend Al Sharpton, as Black America’s #1 surrogate for the Democratic Party, was at the forefront of the newly revived, Brookings Institute, reform discussions. Serving as Barack Obama’s Chief Hip Hop Ambassador, Jay Z was given unprecedented access to the Democratic Party’s media outlets, to lead the public discussion on the need for reform.

Jay Z, like Eisenhower’s “Jazz Ambassadors” before him, has very little awareness of how his hard-won political capital, within the Black Community, is being mined for the political gold needed to finance the Democratic Party’s domestic and foreign agenda. On the local level, neoliberal criminal justice reform was needed as the policy center-piece for the 2016 presidential platform of Hillary — My Prisoners at the Governor’s Mansion — Clinton.


It was strategic enough, as a policy, to ingratiate Hillary Clinton with the Black community — by presenting it as something she was “doing for us” — while at the same time it could be pitched as non-race-specific policy, to avoid alienating the Democratic Party’s, racist, white voter base.

To add even more weight behind this political gambit, Obama summoned his version of Eisenhower’s “Jazz Ambassadors” to the white house, in the middle of a hotly contested Democratic Primary between HRC and Bernie Sanders, for a so-called “Criminal Justice Reform” summit (4/15/16), which was nothing more than a thinly veiled Hip Hop recruitment gathering for Hillary ’16.

On an international level, it was the strategic cover America needed to drown out the continued claims of human rights violations, as evidenced by the disproportionate number of Black men, and growing number of Black women, being held in America’s political concentration camps.

Enters Meek Mill

The November 2017 sentencing of rapper Robert “Meek Mill” Williams, was the catalyst needed to galvanize Jay Z, the State, and the Democratic Party’s billionaire donor-base, around a single issue: PROBATION REFORM.

The lunacy of Meek Mills arrest and imprisonment, was so outlandish that it made international headlines, positioning Meek as America’s new, most iconic “Political Prisoner,” overnight — The former being, Mumia Abu Jamal.

Meek’s arrest was political gold for the Democratic Party’s reform agenda, because it provided a grassroots movement, that appeared organic enough, to move full steam ahead with neoliberal criminal justice reform. Meek’s release also symbolized just how this new “reform” movement, would be used to drown out advocacy efforts on behalf of Political prisoners.

Just as Obama’s rise to the presidency, forever deafened the cries for justice by African Americans, Meek Mills ascendancy as America’s most iconic political prisoner, has aided in silencing the cry for justice by the Afrikans that have been held captive, since before Meek was born.

Meek’s Cinderella debut, and helicopter ride to the Sixers game, completely overshadowed, Mumia Abu Jamal, who on that same day, was finally back in court for his long awaited hearing to have his case reopened.

Articles you may find interesting: How “Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform” Institutionalizes a Right-Wing, Neoliberal Agenda


But even beyond Mumia, the great tragedy, and injustice of this corporate-owned reform movement, is that it has allowed American policy makers to spin a narrative that U.S. Mass Incarceration is somehow the result of a “broken system,” and not the direct result of neoliberal policies intended to deal with the threat of Black radicalism.

The sad irony here, is that two Black men who are the products of America’s fear of creating a new generation of George Jacksons and Fred Hamptons — Meek Mill & Jay Z — are both having their ignorance weaponized against the same group of political prisoners, who were the impetus for the neoliberal era of Mass Incarceration in America.

That any Black man in America would be willing to entertain a discussion on Prison reform, that doesn’t involve the release of these political prisoners, and the pardon of those still in exile (e.g. Mama Assata Shakur) is the deepest of tragedies.

But even with my deep feelings of betrayal, I still continue to hope that our Brothers Meek Mill & Jay Z, will experience a legitimate awakening, as they had no control over the manufacturing of their consciousness, which has ultimately shaped their character.

In the wake of the generation of George Jacksons and Fred Hamptons, America sort to provide itself with an army of Jay Zs and Meek Mills, from which they could handpick the winners and losers. The consciousness of this new generation of black male youth has been manufactured to embrace hyper capitalism, and rugged individualism. Thoughts of collective struggle, don’t have a chance of entering such a mind, without the light of a proper political education.

“As a slave, the social phenomenon that engages my whole consciousness is, of course, revolution.”

~ George Jackson

This lack of proper analysis, is one of the reasons why Jay Z can name drop scholars like Ruthie Gilmore, to score criminal justice points, but wouldn’t be caught whispering the names of any of our political prisoners, in earshot of his corporate sponsors.

This inability for Jay Z to wrestle with his own contradictions, makes him the perfect running back on behalf of the State, and corporate America’s private interests. Sometimes I ask myself, “does he realize how he’s being used to run interference, or is he blinded by the prestige and corporate deals that come with being useful?”

In no case was this more evident than his “Obama approved” trip to Cuba in 2014. Six-months ahead of Obama publicly announcing that he was easing restrictions on travel to Cuba, Obama skillfully uses his Hip Hop diplomacy to signal a change is US policy with Cuba, the same way Nixon used Ping-pong diplomacy, to signal a change in foreign policy with China.

What was despicable about Jay Z allowing himself to be maneuvered in the interest of US foreign policy, was the Obama Administration also added Assata Shakur to the FBI’s most wanted list, and placed an additional one-million dollar bounty on her head, within one-month of Jay Z’s return from his Hiplomatic excursion to Cuba.

To date, Jay Z has never come out an condemned the Obama Administration, or America, who he assisted with changing their Cold War policy towards Cuba, even as they doubled-down on their Cold War policy towards Assata.

To be fair, I genuinely believe, that both Meek Mill and Jay Z feel they are doing the right thing. The challenge I have with them, is they’ve both shown just how willing they are, to abandon the struggle of their people, when it aligns with their economic interests.

During his visit to the Breakfast Club to discuss “standing up for reform,” Meek Mill was asked by one of the hosts (at the 18:18 mark), if he’s concerned with his activism around prison reform “f*cking with those peoples money?”

Meek’s Reply:

All y’all gotta do is give me a warning, I’ll get out y’all way. I aint here to sacrifice my life for everybody… I’m here to sacrifice my life for my family and my son…


This one statement by the famed freedom fighter, sums up the consciousness of an entire generation — where the movement builders of yesterday, have been replaced by the brand builders of today. This notion that I will fight for my people, as long as it comes with corporate endorsements, speaking fees, a one-way ticket to the island of Black excellence — and no resistance from my oppressor, is the prevailing consciousness of our generation.

This cancerous mindset, as well as the aforementioned reasons, is what led me to write this open letter to you (Dr. Shakur). Marcus Garvey once said, “What you do today that is worthwhile, inspires others to act at some future time.” It is my hope that by writing this open letter, it will inspire others to examine and confront their own fears, as I have done my own.

Only time will tell if the island of Black excellence, can be transformed into an edifice of maroon resistance, or if it’ll remain America’s decadent colonization scheme, for it’s newly manumitted slaves — who falsely believe that the chains of mental enslavement can be broken with dollars.

“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”

~ Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Written by

Omowale Afrika

READ MORE AT: https://medium.com/@omowaleafrika/why-is-jay-zs-criminal-justice-reform-helping-to-erase-the-struggle-to-free-political-prisoners-cd202298f338


“Time for an Awakening” with Bro.Elliott, 3-01-20 guest Dr. Ava Muhammad

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 3/01/2020 at 7:00 PM (EST) our guest was Attorney, Author, National Spokesperson for Minister Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Ava Muhammad. “THE CASE FOR SEPARATION“, along with related subjects was topics for discussion with our guest, Dr. Ava Muhammad.

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro.Elliott, 2-09-20 guest Prof. Michael A. Gomez

https://media.blubrry.com/timeforanawakeningmedia/p/www.timeforanawakening.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Time-for-an-Awakening-with-Bro.Elliott-2-09-20-guest-Prof-Michael-A.-Gomez-mp3.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:09:03 — 59.4MB) | EmbedSubscribe: Android | Email | RSS “Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 2/09/2020 at 7:00 PM (EST) our guest was Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University, Michael A. Gomez. Prof. Gomez discussed his latest work “African...

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Young Black Americans who want to explore their roots can take a free birthright trip to Africa. Here’s how

By Alaa Elassar

Scholars drumming with artisans from the Arts Centre Market in Accra, Ghana.

Scholars drumming with artisans from the Arts Centre Market in Accra, Ghana.

(CNN)There are a lot of things that make up who we are as people. Our physical features, our pet peeves, our passions — and our roots. It’s a puzzle we spend our entire lives trying to finish.As human beings, we are complex and difficult to understand. But sometimes, looking back at where we came from and discovering the successes, struggles and sacrifices of our ancestors can make that puzzle a bit more complete.For young black people, that discovery can mean the world. That’s why Birthright AFRICA, a nonprofit organization based in New York City, offers free trips to Africa for youth and young adults of African descent looking to explore their cultural roots. The organization also funds local and national exploration in cities like New York City and Washington, where scholars live and are a bus ride away from gaining an understanding of their history and contributions in the US before visiting the continent. “National Black History Month often focuses on the past, but this is about creating an infrastructure so that we can help people transform their futures,” Birthright AFRICA co-founder Diallo Shabazz told CNN.”This isn’t about validating black identity. It’s about providing an opportunity for people to explore their ancestry. “

An education you can’t find at school

One of Birthright AFRICA’s most important goals is giving young scholars the knowledge that the American school system often fails to provide.Those who go on the trip visit cultural sites, museums, universities, and organizations managed and led by people of African descent to learn about the “historic and present-day resilience and brilliance of their heritage often lacking in our school curriculums,” according to Birthright AFRICA co-founder and CEO Walla Elsheikh.While it’s been more than a half a century since the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling found that “separate but equal” has no place in US public schools, true racial equality in our education system has yet to exist.

Scholars on a Birthright AFRICA trip to Ghana in 2017.

Scholars on a Birthright AFRICA trip to Ghana in 2017.Schools with more black students are less likely to provide counselors, offer advanced classes, and hire teachers with proper licenses. Consequently, black students are more likely to be absent from school and get suspended. Although black students in colleges have more access (and freedom) to choose their own courses, when it comes to study abroad programs, the lack of diversity and equal opportunities continues.”Only 6% of study abroad students are black or of African descent. And only 2% of US managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs are of African descent,” Elsheikh said.”To address this gap in diversity and talent, Birthright AFRICA is creating the next generation of global leaders and entrepreneurs that are proud of their African heritage, confident in their innovative aspirations and connected to the African continent.”

“My life will never be the same”

While tourists visiting Africa are more likely to remember the food or safaris, those who have taken the birthright trip have something else to cherish.For Shaina Louis, a 23-year-old Haitian student born and raised in New York, her birthright trip to Ghana in 2018 as a student at the City University of New York gave her one thing she’d never expected to find: closure. “Prior to Birthright Africa, I had a lot of pent up resentment and antagonism due to a history that I felt my people had no say in. For those of us in the diaspora, our history, according to the textbooks, starts with slavery. I was doubtful and kind of cynical about what the future held not only for me as an individual, but also for black people as a whole,” Louis told CNN.After years of wondering where she fit in in a world where her ancestors were “stifled” and doubting the connection between Africa and those whose were forced to leave, Louis finally got the answers to all of her unspoken questions.”We may not speak the same language, but the foods we eat, the way we carry ourselves, the way we relate to one another, and our deeply ingrained spirituality reflect a bond that is still there,” she said. “There is a sense of inner peace and ease I now have, that wasn’t there before. I can move forward with my life, with intention behind everything I do.”

Scholars dancing with a professor from the University of Ghana's Performing Arts School in Accra, Ghana in 2018.

Scholars dancing with a professor from the University of Ghana’s Performing Arts School in Accra, Ghana in 2018.Kareem Williams, a 26-year-old scholar who went to Ghana on his birthright trip in 2019 as a participant of community-based GrowHouse NYC, said he felt extremely disconnected from his Jamaican roots while growing up in New York. What surprised Williams the most, he said, was the kindness he received from people in the country. Unlike the “feeling of separation” he’s experienced in the US, for once, he felt like he belonged. “Before I had even touched down in Ghana, the energy I felt as I got closer to Africa, I felt a rush, a vibration, and it was so strong,” Williams said. “It felt like something was pulling me towards the country. It felt surreal.”Visiting Ghana, he said, made him feel that he had a place where he didn’t have to “constantly face resistance,” an environment — and a system — that would help him thrive instead of hold him back.”It has to do with the American system. There’s so much prejudice and micro aggressions that I didn’t feel in Ghana. I felt so connected to my ancestors for the first time. When I came back to the US, I realized how much it changed me. Like my life will never be the same.”Now, Williams says he plans to someday return to Africa in hopes of getting into a position where he can become a global leader with the ability to influence reform, economic decisions, and infrastructure to collaboratively strengthen African businesses and communities.

What it takes to take a birthright trip to Africa

To take a birthright trip to Africa, you have to be a US citizen and between 13 to 30 years old.You also have to be of African descent; this includes African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Europeans, Afro-Asian and Afro-Latinx, according to Elsheikh.”We consider all black people of African descent,” Elsheikh said. “Our target groups are those who have been negatively impacted by the traumatizing enslavement and colonization of black people.”Birthright AFRICA collaborates with high school, college, or community-based organization who are then considered “partners.” These educational partners select the participants and the country they will visit as part of the Birthright AFRICA program.Anyone who isn’t already a part of one of these education partners can register through the Birthright AFRICA website which will then redirect them to a partner in their area with available spaces where they can apply. Those who take the trip to Africa get to go for free — flights, hotels, food, and costs of museums are covered by Birthright AFRICA and the educational partners.For those who aren’t interested in a trip but would like to help fund them, Birthright AFRICA heavily relies on donations to make these life-changing trips possible.

CNN’s Saeed Ahmed contributed to this report.

READ MORE AT: https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/03/us/africa-birthright-program-national-black-history-month-trnd/index.html

AND https://birthrightafrica.org/

The political resilience of the Black-owned bookstore




By Char Adams Feb 6, 2020

When he wasn’t helping some 600 slaves escape through the Underground Railroad, David Ruggles was running a bookstore. In 1828, Ruggles opened a grocery store in New York City and later, as he became involved in the burgeoning abolitionist movement, opened a reading room and a bookstore for Black Americans. It was the nation’s first Black-owned bookstore.

In a building in what is now known as the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, Ruggles sold anti-slavery works and later published the Mirror of Liberty, known as the nation’s earliest Black magazine. This made him especially concerning to slavecatchers and anti-abolitionists, because not only was Ruggles facilitating escapes via the Underground Railroad, but he was also disseminating politically problematic works. Still, he ran a boarding house, reading room, and the bookstore through riots and attacks before leaving New York in 1839. He was repeatedly beaten and jailed for his efforts.

Born a free man, Ruggles was an ardent advocate for abolition. He even helped free Frederick Douglass from slavery by hiding Douglass in his own home. With Ruggles gone from New York, though, his store was no more. But its legacy lived on: His business was the first in a long tradition of Black-owned bookstores with ties to Black political liberation.

“Black bookstores have continuously been hubs for the community to simply be with one another.”

Before Ruggles, the community’s need for Black literature was largely met by Black bibliophiles like him who went to great lengths to collect books, periodicals, and newspapers by Black writers that focused on Black life. Their goal was to make Black literature available to the Black community in reading rooms at a time when Black people were routinely told no books by or about them existed.

Today’s brick-and-mortar Black bookstores continue the legacy of the space that Ruggles created. Black bookshops, owned and operated by Black people, cater to the community with written works by and for Black readers. Many shops also feature a variety of writings by non-Black authors. For all their transformation over the centuries, though, Black bookstores have continuously been hubs for the community to simply be with one another.

Historically, Black independent booksellers have been viewed as the keepers of Black culture. And just as Ruggles’s store allowed him to purvey abolitionist works, many Black bookshops have been closely tied to political movements of their day. Because of this, the stores have long been sites of liberation — and government interest.

“They felt he was running some type of movement here because he was promoting Black culture.”

Some of the earliest business owners to follow Ruggles’s example were Lewis Michaux, an outspoken activist who owned the famous National Memorial African Bookstore, a Harlem landmark that opened in the 1930s, and Alfred and Bernice Ligon of the Aquarian Book Shop in Los Angeles, which operated as early as the 1940s and was a stopping place for writers like Maya Angelou and Alex Haley. In the 1960s, more than a century after Ruggles ran his store, the daughter of Dawud Hakim, the owner of Hakim’s Bookstore in Philadelphia, heard her father talk about the FBI agents perched outside his shop.

“People used to stand across the street from the store and take pictures,” Yvonne Blake tells Mic about her father’s store. “They felt he was running some type of movement here because he was promoting Black culture.”

The exterior of Hakim’s Bookstore in the 1960s. [Courtesy Yvonne Blake]

In 1968, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered FBI outposts across the country to investigate Black bookstores and their owners as part of COINTELPRO, the infamous counterintelligence program that worked to combat the Black Power movement. Each office was ordered to spy on “Black extremist and/or African-type bookstores” to determine whether they served as secret meeting places or hubs for Black extremists.

Some 140 miles away from Hakim’s Bookstore, veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a major direct-action civil rights organization formed in the early 1960s, were having their own run-ins with federal law enforcement at the Drum and Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C. The store quickly became a target for federal law enforcement because of its links to prominent Black activists like Stokely Carmichael. Judy Richardson, an early member of SNCC who worked in the bookstore, recalls a pair of FBI agents visiting the shop.

The Drum and Spear storefront

“It was so obvious who they were,” Richardson tells Mic. “These two white guys, they always looked the same. Very buttoned up, standard-issue shoes. They were buying up Mao’s ‘[Little] Red Book’ and all of the revolutionary literature … to ‘prove’ the case that we were left-wing and to minimize any support we might have in the public sphere. It was an attempt to smear us.”

“They were tracking us,” she continues. “We all had [FBI] files.” The FBI’s monitoring of the group is well-documented, with several files made public by the FBI.

In 1971, Hakim was quoted calling the operation “a waste of taxpayers’ money,” per The Atlantic. “We are trying to educate our people about their history and culture,” he lamented, adding that the FBI should have been pursuing other priorities like “organized crime and dope peddlers.”

“Black bookstores are political spaces. That connection to politics was absolutely essential.”

The feds’ interest in Black booksellers spanned the country. In New York City, booksellers like Michaux and Una Mulzac of Liberation Bookstore were monitored. Edward Vaughn of Vaughn’s Bookstore in Detroit was singled out too, along with the owners of Denver’s Sundiata bookstore. Even Martin Sostre, whose Afro Asian Book Shop was located in relatively lesser-known Buffalo, New York, was under investigation for simply selling Black literature, as University of Baltimore history professor Joshua Clark Davis notes in his book From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs.

“Black bookstores are political spaces,” Davis tells Mic. “That connection to politics was absolutely essential to these bookstores. So many Black activists, so many Black people who started bookstores in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the vast majority of them came out of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. You have folks who come out of movements and start bookstores. That’s a pattern that repeats itself.”

Yvonne Blake in present-day Hakim’s Bookstore. [Courtesy Yvonne Blake]

The late ‘60s marked a sharp increase in Black independent bookstores, and the timing of the surge — during the height of the Black Power Movement — was no coincidence. Hoover was right about one thing: Black bookstores were gathering places rooted in activism. But they went far beyond politics, too. These shops catered to the community and provided a space for Black people to come and not only read, but also talk about what they read. Chester and Lillie Owens and James and Dorothy McField, two Black couples, understood this full-well when they opened The Hub in 1965 in Kansas City, Kansas. They served tea and gourmet foods to those who came to the bookstore to simply hang out, and sold African clothing and jewelry, according to Kansas City-based NPR affiliate KCUR.

“[It was about] the young people who would sit down on the floor of The Hub and read the books,” Chester Owens told KCUR in October. “[Profit] had nothing to do with it.”

The number of Black bookstores dwindled along with the Black Power Movement in the mid- to late-’70s. And the dismal economy of the decade only led to more closures. However, in the ‘90s, major Black cultural and political moments — like the Los Angeles Riots, the Million Man March, and hip-hop’s golden age — led to a sharp increase in such stores.There was a renewed interest in Black history, especially after New York’s Howard Beach killing in the late ‘80s and a series of fire-bombings at southern Black churches in the ‘90s, according to the Los Angeles Times. Major bookstore chains took notice and ramped up their African-American book offerings, the Times reported then. But the variety and culturally specific titles that the major retailers lacked, Black independent bookstores offered to literature-thirsty Black communities.

“It was a vehicle for people looking for new ideas and thoughts from a Black or African-centered perspective.”

Akbar Watson, director of the Boynton Beach, Florida-based Pyramid Books, launched his shop in 1993 after he and his friends grew tired of having little access to books by Black writers and about Black life, academia, and culture.At the time, he says, “reading was hot.”

“It became political,” Watson tells Mic of his store. “I didn’t start [the store] to become political, but I was housing [books] with universal issues that catered toward Black people. It was a vehicle for people looking for new ideas and thoughts from a Black or African-centered perspective. The customers demanded that. It quickly became political because it was part of the business. It’s what people wanted.”

The number of Black bookstores peaked with at least 200 in the mid-‘90s, Davis says, before plummeting over the years to just 54 in 2014, according to the African American Literature Book Club. The number slightly recovered to reach 70 in 2016, per the database. When you put those numbers in context, you realize how precarious the situation was for Black bookstores: The Open Education Database notes that independent bookstores overall endured a precipitous drop too, thanks to the rise of Amazon and major chains — from more than 4,000 independent stores in the early ‘90s to just 1,900 by 2011.

But now, yet another revolutionary political climate has resulted in a new wave of Black-owned bookstores, even as brick-and-mortar bookstores struggle in the shadow of online titans like Amazon. Today, the African American Literature Book Club estimates that about 120 Black-owned bookstores are operating in the U.S.

“People are realizing bookstores offer something special,” Davis says, crediting “everything from Obama’s second term and Trayvon Martin to Black Lives Matter and Black Twitter” for drawing increased attention to racism and injustice and fueling an uptick in interest in Black life.“Black bookstores are uniquely positioned to serve citizens who want to learn more about Black history and culture or learn about racism,” Davis says.

Of course, the books are part of the appeal, too. The latest increase in Black bookstores may also be due in part to the “huge number of excellent new Black authors,” Davis says. Writers like Tressie McMillan Cottom, Brittney Cooper, Roxane Gay, and Kiese Laymon have produced works that fly from the shelves and spark meaningful conversations, Davis says, and Black bookstores have long been a stopping place for Black writers promoting their work.

“Whatever the country is going through, the Black community is feeling it 17 times harder.”

Still, bookstore ownership is known as one of the most challenging plights in retail. Many of the stores still in existence have relied on monetary help from their communities. Blake, who still runs her father’s store in Philadelphia, has turned to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to keep the doors open. Other shops, like Seattle’s Life Enrichment Bookstore, have done the same.

This was also the case for Noëlle Santos, the owner of The Lit. Bar in the Bronx, New York. Despite having no bookselling (or retail) experience, she stepped in to fill a void after the neighborhood’s only bookstore — a Barnes & Noble — closed. She used her social media prowess and several pop-up shops to establish the Lit. Bar name before opening the store in 2019.

“Whatever the country is going through, the Black community is feeling it 17 times harder,” Santos tells Mic. “It’s not that we lack the talent — we lack the investments. We have to go out and get it.”

The Lit. Bar. [Courtesy Noëlle Santos/The Lit. Bar]

Santos’s shop includes a wine bar, and she additionally holds offsite events and even provides textbooks for nearby schools. Her model is similar to the one that held up Black bookshops in decades past. Just as Lit. Bar provides a space for the community to gather, so does Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books in Philadelphia (owned by Marc Lamont Hill), WORD in Brooklyn, and many more.

While we enjoy this most recent wave of Black bookstores, it’s hard not to wonder whether some new pressure — political, social, or economic — will once again diminish their number. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that these shops are as resilient as the people who occupy them. Santos, for example, sees her business not as an entry in history but as an investment in what’s to come.

“I never thought about making my mark on history. That never registered,” she says. “I’m thinking about the future and how much impact I can make.”

READ MORE AT: https://www.mic.com/p/the-political-resilience-of-the-black-owned-bookstore-21738486

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro.Elliott, 5-14-2014 guest Historian, Ashra Kwesi

https://media.blubrry.com/timeforanawakeningmedia/p/www.timeforanawakening.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Time-for-an-Awakening-with-Bro.Elliott-5-14-2014-guest-Ashra-Kwesi-The-African-Origin-Of-The-Bible-and-Koran-mp3.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:53:15 — 52.1MB) | EmbedSubscribe: Android | Email | RSS “Time For An Awakening” special guest for 5/14/2014 was Historian, Lecturer, and “Master Teacher” Ashra Kwesi. The “African Origin of the Bible and the Koran” was be the topic of conversation....

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“Time for an Awakening” with Bro.Elliott, Sunday 1-26-20 guest Dr. Errol A. Henderson

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 1/26/2020 our guest was Associate Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Errol A. Henderson. Dr. Henderson discussed his latest work “The Revolution Will Not Theorized: Cultural Revolution In The Black Power Era” along with other related topics on the program.

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro.Elliott 1-19-20 guest Omowale Afrika

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 1/19/2020 at 7:00 PM (EST) our guest was Vice Shenuti for the Philadelphia Chapter of Afrocentricity International, Omowale Afrika. We heared from Bro. Omowale about the current outreach, and overview of the upcoming lecture series at Phila. chapter of Afrocentricity International.

Time for an Awakening with Bro.Elliott 7-20-2014 guest Dr. Tyrone Hayes

https://media.blubrry.com/timeforanawakeningmedia/p/www.timeforanawakening.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Dr.-Tyrone-Hayes-07_20_2014-mp3.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:56:43 — 53.7MB) | EmbedSubscribe: Android | Email | RSS “Time for an Awakening” program on 7-20-2014, our guest was Professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley, Lecturer, Environmental Activist Dr. Tyrone Hayes. Dr. Hayes joined us to discuss his research that the widely used...

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