12 comments on “A Community’s Bricks and Mortar: Karibu Books

  1. Wonderful piece, brother! Marcus Bookstore is ours here in SF/Oakland Bay Area and they are still hanging on! The SF Public Library was my coming of age spot as well. I remember as a young worker having a patron come in. An older black man, with a militant air about himself come in looking for some reference book and not finding it on the open shelves. He complained to me that “they hide those books about black people” meaning books by Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, and “Africa’s Gift to America” by J.A. Rogers. I quickly ran to the dusty dirty stacks of the library and retrieved the book he wanted–a huge reference I think it was the Anacalypsis! That angry brother opened a new avenue of information and truth to me as I started searching out the library stacks for old treasures written by those forgotten black scholars who spent lifetimes researching their works!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, but next time say something!!

    • Thanks for tweeting this post and for spreading the word about this article and mahogany books :) Got to support the independents!

  2. I came upon this article from Tayari Jones’ blog. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. My brother, Rodney, introduced me to Karibu, while attending Bowie State University, when it was a kiosk at the mall. I have so many fond memories of that store, including meeting authors Walter Mosley and J. California Cooper. We would drive from Hampton, Virginia (3+ hours) to attend the booksignings. Thank you.

  3. Thanks, Brother Alan! Hey let’s all put “buttons” linking back to Mahogany Books and other black bookstores on our blogs to help spread the word! Mahogany looks VERY promising! They’re advertising “A hero aint nothing but a sandwich” Oh My God–I forgot I read that one! Of course it was nearly 40 years ago!! ;-D

  4. Hey All…first this is an awesome post. I used to work at Karibu when I was at Bowie State University. The relationships & experience I accumulated there changed my life forever. Bro. Yao, especially, became a very good friend of mine and continues to inspire me through his action. What he and his wife built laid the blueprint for what we are building with MahoganyBooks.

    Thanks for the words of support in the comments and and for linking to our site. Let us know how we can help and keep up the good work on displaying the positivity and intelligence that exists in our community. They can’t continue to ignore us with the swell of voices we recruiting into our ranks.


  5. Thanks for this article, and for showing the comment we made in January 2008. Azizi Books (http://www.azizibooks.com) is still moving forward, as one of the few Black bookstores remaining in the Chicago area. We are now in our 3rd year and growing. We still hold on to the model that Karibu Books presented. We have a vibrant online presence, Black Books Direct (http://www.blackbooksdirect.com), as well. It is important that we continue to provide these venues for our community. In addition to all of the new and popular release, we have books that our readers may not (probably will not) find in mainstream bookstores. Every week there is an opportunity for them to meet and interact with local and nationally recognized authors. We demonstrate to our children that reading is one of the most important functions we can engage in as relevant human beings. This work is important and we remain committed!

    Kevin Roberts
    Azizi Books
    134 Lincoln Mall Drive
    Matteson, IL 60443

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