Hakim’s Book Store is the first and oldest Black-owned bookshop in Philadelphia.

In Episode 3 of theGrio’s new series, “Legacy”, second-generation owner Yvonne Blake takes us through the history of the emporium.

Hakim’s Book Store, which historian and scholar Dawud Hakim founded in 1959, began with a simple mission: to inform and educate African Americans about their history.   

At the time of its inception, it was uncommon to find books that exclusively addressed African American history and culture. Dawud became a wavemaker in his West Philadelphia community and was often known for having access to rare books.  

In the third episode of theGrio’s new series, “Legacy”, second-generation owner Yvonne Blake walks us through her father’s legacy of sharing Black stories. Read about Sylvia’s (second episode) here.

Yvonne Blake stands in front of Hakim’s Book Store. (Photo credit: Yolanda Hoskey)

“We always had books in our home,” said Yvonne Blake, Hakim’s daughter. “I think I was reading the newspaper at the age of 4 and my father always taught us that books gave you education and helped you to experience things that you might not be able to experience otherwise.” 

The bookstore is the first and oldest bookstore in Philadelphia specializing in African American literature for all ages

We have books for every generation of the household,” said Community Outreach Specialist Chris Arnold. “We take pride in that. We wouldn’t have been able to make it to 60 years of business if we only spoke to just one or two generations.”

Recently, the bookstore received a major honor for its contributions to shaping the cultural landscape of Philadelphia and American History. The shop will be bookmarked in Pennsylvania’s history by an official blue and yellow historical marker.

“Legacy is the ability to pass something down to other generations,” Blake noted. “And it’s important to me because my father was a first in what he did … As I got older, I really was able to appreciate what he was doing.”

(L-R) Glenda Cooke, Chris Arnold and Yvonne Blake sit among the titles in Hakim’s Book Store.(Photo Credit: Yolanda Hoskey)

“Legacy” is a profile series that spotlights Black businesses whose 50-plus year legacies have withstood the test of time while managing to “keep it in the family.” Each episode takes viewers through the history of the business as told by its next-generation owners. 

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