I hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, I visited the Afrika Book Café, located at 404 Mitchell Street in my hometown Jackson, MS. This much needed black-owned book store is in the Fondren area and has books, African inspired jewelry, African clothing, music, incense, and oils at great prices. I had the fortunate opportunity to talk at length with one of the store owners Dr. Sizewe Chapman, who is originally from Jackson and wants to see and help the city of Jackson grow and prosper. After discussing economic development in Jackson, he recommended I read Black Labor, White Wealth by Claud Anderson.
Another book, The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke, caught my eye, so I purchased those two and look forward to reading them.
Now I wish I were flying back to Atlanta so I could get started!
After browsing through all Afrika Book Café has to offer, I sat on the porch with the store owners (a beautiful married couple!) and Skipp Coon and his wife (another beautiful married couple! Black love lives!). One of the things I miss most about home is the simplicity but profundity of sitting on a porch learning from each other and talking about the world and what we can do and are doing to make it better. Skipp, Sizewe, and I talked strategy, history, our reality, and dreams. Sizewe, a former African history professor at Jackson State University, really inspired me to keep reading and finding historical significance and lessons as I move forward in trying to affect positive change in the black community. Skipp, who is a rapper who speaks the truth (and someone whom you should support!), and I finished a conversation we had awhile back about colonies, and we shared stories about our experiences as blacks traveling in Europe.
Lemme tell you, my visit to Afrika Book Café is one of the highlights of my trip home. If you’re in or near Jackson, I encourage you to check this treasure out. It’s still a new business, so let’s make sure it stays open, serving our community by providing educational and mind-expanding resources and a space for community interaction. Go support this small business! And while you’re at it, support Skipp Coon!