Hakim’s Bookstore, the oldest African-American bookstore, is getting some much-needed help from the Philadelphia community.
According to owner Yvonne Blake, people who heard the news that the store, which has been family-owned-and-operated since 1959, was struggling were quick to respond. Blake said that she has been overwhelmed by all the support she received, reports Philly.com.
Blake’s story, and her store, have been pasted all over social media by everyone from locals to even Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Roots, with many using the hashtag #BlackBooksMatter. But Blake said that the most important thing she has seen people do is shop at the store. Their business helps keep the store afloat.
The Early Birds, an online community dedicated to helping support black-owned business, also held a cash mob, in which they encouraged their followers to go to Blake’s store and spend at least $20.
Other people have also volunteered to help Blake run the store, since Blake is also caring for her ailing mother, and people like Temple University student Ebonee Johnson have volunteered their time to keep the doors open.
The support has been overwhelming to Blake, and she hopes it will continue past the holiday season.
“It’s like a dream I don’t want to fully embrace because I don’t want it to end,” she told Philly.com. “It’s been an eye-opener because I thought we were dead and irrelevant. I really thought our time had passed, but I realized that I was living in the past and we have to do things differently if we want to stay around.”
To help out, the store has a GoFundMe page set up, and if you’re in the area Hakim’s Bookstore is located at 210 S. 52nd St.