In celebration of Black History Month, we asked contributors to Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic to recommend their favorite Black-owned bookstores. Shopping at an indie store means investing in intentional programming, including readings and discussion groups, and fostering community spaces. Read on to learn how you can support the missions of these stores, as well as the larger literary ecosystem. And don’t forget to show them some love by plucking your copy of Bigger Than Bravery—and our contributors’ books—from their shelves!
Rofhiwa Book Café
recommended by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Jasmin Pittman Morell
Open just shy of two years, Rofhiwa Book Café in Durham is a thoughtfully designed space, combining stellar, locally sourced coffee with a carefully curated selection of books by Black writers. Rofhiwa’s founder, Boitumelo Makhubele, and curator, Naledi Yaziyo, say that they “value books as repositories for collective knowledge.”
But their gorgeous indoor space houses more than books and coffee; it’s a gathering place for community, from book launches to readings to art exhibits. Rofhiwa’s impact on its community can’t be overstated. In a commentary for Cardinal & Pine, Yaziyo wrote, “In the year that Rofhiwa Book Café has been in operation in East Durham, it has been my singular mission to expose Black children to books about Black children in other places and other parts of the world.”
Bonus! For a limited time, Lookout is partnering with Rofhiwa to offer readers a free “Black Resilience, Black Reclamation” enamel pin when you purchase Bigger Than Bravery from them—while supplies last.
Recommended by Jason Reynolds and Deesha Philyaw
Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD
With locations in DC and Maryland, Loyalty is a Black- and queer-owned bookstore that’s deeply committed to its community and to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ representation. Owner Hannah Oliver Depp is passionate about diversity and accessibility, with aspirations to create a bookmobile that will broaden the store’s reach.
“I decided to open this bookstore because I wanted to have an influence not only on my community but also in publishing,” Depp said during an interview with Good Morning America. “I wanted to provide jobs for people of color who love to sell books and talk about books. [I also wanted to] represent my neighborhood so they see themselves on the shelves when they come in.”
Bonus! For a limited time, Lookout Books is partnering with Loyalty too; pick up your copy of Bigger Than Bravery there, and receive a free “Black Resilience, Black Reclamation” enamel pin—while supplies last!