Thursday, August 13, 2009

California Book Club Summit

Next month we will be participating in the very first EVER, California Book Club Summit ( and we are totally jazzed and excited. The Summit organizers do a great job of keeping us tantalized about the conference events with regular updates via their Summit Newsletter. However the latest edition focuses on the bookseller, the legendary Marcus Books and we wanted to share it with you--so with permission we are happy to post the following and we hope you take the message to heart and into supporting local business in your communities--wherever they may be!

Dear Summit Participants,

As we get closer to the Summit dates, so many people are sharing with me their feelings about supporting our authors and bookstores. In these challenging economic times with many African American businesses hard pressed to stay afloat, it is more important than ever to support them whenever and wherever we can. There are very few African American owned bookstores left in this country. Far too many black readers have been seduced away from our independent bookstores by the mega stores like Borders, Barnes & Nobel and the internet giants like Amazon. Articles have been circulating on the internet lately that publishing giant and black household favorites Ebony and Jet may be folding. Wouldn't it be a shame if our children and grandchildren grew up without knowing the pride of reading about "our people" in books and magazines written by our people? Support for the African American owned independent bookstores is crucial if this rich heritage is to go into the future with us as black people in some of the most politically significant times in the history of the planet. Black pride means black support on all levels.

The California Book Club Summit is proud to have Marcus Bookstore, the nation's oldest African American independently owned and operated bookstore, as its host bookstore for this inaugural event in September. Marcus Books will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2010. Their booth will be available throughout the Summit weekend for your purchasing needs and owner Blanche Richardson will speak at the Summit on the importance of collecting first edition autographed books and creating a personal library. Read the rich and colorful history of the store below. Order your books directly from them now and be sure to stop by and meet them at the Summit. Keep our authors writing and selling their books with the help of stores like Marcus Bookstore. See you at the Summit!!

Marcus Book Store - The History
Marcus Book Stores has been on the fore-front of the literary business for 49 years. Printing, packaging and promoting authors across the world. The oldest independently owned black book store in the country has catered to every level of reader in the community and abroad. This bookstore has been a pillar in northern California's political, social and economic structure. Founded and deeply rooted in the service of the people has afforded this classic institution the longevity thus far. Entering the half century mark for any business in this changing climate is an accomplishment in itself; however Marcus Books has continued to be the example of steadfast self determination.

Literary giants, award winning poets, music moguls, championship athletes, and entertainers from every aspect of the African-American experience and community have graced and embraced this national treasure as a sacred and hallowed sanctuary of knowledge and opportunity. Relentlessly establishing the importance of reading and critical thinking by opening the services of this entity to more than mere book or periodicals sales. Marcus Books is host, partner, affiliate or in conjunction with some of the most high profile, informative, exciting and free events in the bay area.

Three generations of the Richardson family have dedicated time and energy into this establishment. Here now 49 years later, with two bay area locations (San Francisco & Oakland), Marcus Books wants to continue serving the community and continue creating opportunities where there are none. It is a legacy too strong to break yet pushed to
the limits every year. If you have yet to visit either store, we invite you now. With your help and patronage this American Dream can continue to educate for another 50 years.

The Founders

Founded Marcus Book Stores in 1960 and hasn't stopped shaping and molding young minds since. Raye and Rich, as they are affectionately known as, met in Alabama at Tuskegee University. Both hold doctoral degrees and have taught students and scholars alike. Raye is the former department chair of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and the Julian Richardson Press Company has printed and published over 40+ titles, in particular "Stolen Legacy" by George GM James.

Among Rich's literary and scholastic prowess he was an avid musician and found a perfect pitch once he and his new partner arrived in 'Harlem West'. Raye and Rich raised four children through the fragile fifties and stimulating sixties. To date, the Richardson family is vast and still continuing in the tradition set by Raye and Rich.

The blessed and fruitful union of these two is the backbone to Marcus Books. The very essence of the stores is embodied in the two who founded this great and powerful business turned catalyst. This venture was named after the honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Dr's. Raye and Julian Richardson have honored his memory and purpose by dedicating so much to so many.


Let's support ourselves, our authors and our bookstores by making The California Book Club Summit a weekend of African American literary celebration. See you at the Summit!!!

Sigrid Williams
The California Book Club Summit

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 1:49 PM


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