Harlem has always been a hub for “alternative” politics from Marcus Gracey, Canada Lee to Liberation Books and more, so its no surprise that a bookstore that call itself “the center of a movement for revolution,” has swapped its Chelsea digs for Lenox Avenue because of escalating rent.
The communist bookstore is currently renovating a beauty parlor on 347 Lenox Ave. and hopes to open by late September.
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“This is a place where people can come and find out why the world is the way it is and how they can radically transform it,” said spokesperson Andy Zee.
The store, which had been downtown since 1978, frequently hosts book clubs, lectures, poetry nights, film screening and various community events. Its books expose the inequalities of the world and shed light on what can be done to overcome them, he added.
Last month, during the Harlem Book Fair, it hosted a panel about the store and drummed up support to raise funds for the renovation.
“This is just so important in terms of adding, what I think is a necessary filling a void,” said Herb Boyd, activist, journalist and author of “Baldwin’s Harlem.”
“There will come a time, you know, when this will be added to the Schomburg, added to the Abyssinian, added to the Studio Museum as an incredible part of the whole Harlem infrastructure.”
The store will carry a diverse collection of books from international authors covering topics ranging from history, politics, revolutionary theory, science, poetry, and children’s books. It also plans to have a large section of Spanish-language literature, Zee said.
Residents seemed to welcome the idea of a new book store to the neighborhood, especially since Hue Man bookstore closed in 2012 near 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. That storefront is currently being renovated into a Buffalo Wild Wings.
“I think that’s wonderful, the neighborhood needs a book store,” said Cynthia Williams, who lives on the same block as the new Revolution Books location. “It is going to be great for all of the readers in the area.”
Can another bookstore survive in Harlem?
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