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Louis H. Michaux Our Greatest Bookseller

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“...an uncompromising enemy of racism.” Author, Frank Hercules
Louis H. Michaux, 1973 Harlem


“thinking of one of my early inspirations Lewis Michaux. everyone who knew him has stories of him and the bookstore. when i started selling books in Baltimore, after the Panther Party and before Black Classic Press, i would travel to New York and bargain with Mr. Michaux for slow selling items in his inventory. we'd quietly do our bargaining away from the retail customers. he drove hard bargains, but would most often let me win, taking pity on this young bookseller breaking into the trade that he pioneered. i'd get lost in the thousand and thousand of books on his shelves, and loved the larger than life oil paintings always on display by Earl Sweeting. and the political and literary discussion always going on in the store. Louis H. Michaux remains our greatest bookseller.”
Paul Coates, Founder Black Classic Press (from Facebook post)


Lewis Michaux, 92, Dies; Ran Bookstore in Harlem



Mr. Michaux called his bookstore the house of common sense and the home of proper propaganda. The community called it Michaux's.


The store was situated for 38 years on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard at 125th Street. Browsers and customers included Kwame Nkrumah, who later became Ghana's first President; Malcolm X and many authors and scholars, such as W. E. B. DuBois, who met his wife, Shirley Graham, there. (read the complete article)



National Memorial African Book Store
The bookstore was located in two locations in Harlem, New York for 38 years (1932 and 1974).  The 125 Street and 7th Ave (now Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard), pictured above, was torn down to make way for the Harlem State Office Building.



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  • 5 years later...

The first Black-owned bookstore, in America, was operated in New York City by David Ruggles.  It was burned down by a racist mob.  The document below shows the memo ordering Black bookstores to be surveilled.


The act of informing and educating Black people has always been considered a threat to this nation.


The inadequacy of my own education is what drives me to share information about books and to promote other booksellers and Black publishers.



blACK nationalist movement.jpg

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