“I’ve seen increases in demand before. There was a bump during the Civil Rights Movement and during the Black Power Movement. People were searching for information. There was interest around the time Roots came out too.”
“Roots,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alex Haley, became a wildly popular nine-hour miniseries that gripped the country in 1977. Haley based the epic tale on his own family history from his ancestors’ enslavement though several generations to their liberation.
Black Classic Press has operated as a publisher for 42 years and has printed books for 25 years, Coates said, adding that he has seen books help power movements for decades.
Donya Craddock, co-owner of The Dock Bookshop in Fort Worth, Texas, said she could attest to the correlation.
“Every time we have a community crisis, the bookstore is a place for people to vent on,” she said. “We have created a space for people to gather, and talk about their frustrations.”
She has always seen parallels with what is going on in the community and in the bookstore because it energizes people. “People want to share their emotions, people are hurt, and everybody don’t want to go to a bar believe it or not,” she said.
Craddock opened The Dock Bookshop with her sister, Donna, in 2008. The store serves to educate people about Black history and culture through books, in-person events and other programs. It is one of the largest Black-owned bookstores in the Southwest.
The owners not only want to educate their communities, but also encourage people to use what they learn to take action against systemic racism.