One of the most impactful ways to show your support for Black Lives Matter is to get educated on systemic and entrenched racism, learn about Black history and culture, and immerse yourself in stories from the perspective of Black people by reading books.
If you’re looking to educate yourself in this way, think about buying books from one of the city’s brilliant Black-owned bookstores. London has a wealth of Black-owned bookshops, some of which have been publishing and selling books by Black writers for more than half a century. Others have opened more recently in order to diversify children’s literature. While some of the shops in this list are closed at the moment, they have online catalogues you can order from today and always.
Many Black authors who have written books about systemic racism, such as Reni Eddo-Lodge, writer of ‘Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race’, have requested that anyone buying their books also donates to local and national racial justice organisations. So, along with your purchase, it’s worth thinking about giving to one of these anti-racism charities and organisations doing amazing work in London.
This south London publisher produces Africa-orientated literature, including essays, history, novels and children’s books. You can buy its publications – and other books on similar themes – from its online store. Many are also available as e-books.
This wellbeing and arts shop has been trading for 20 years. Pempamsie means ‘unity is strength’ and one of the aims of the shop is to support the African community in London. As well as books, you’ll find art, health and beauty products in its four branches across London. 102 Brixton Hill, SW2 1AH; 1 Goldcrest House, 34 Lee High Rd, SE13 5FH; 219 London Rd, CR4 2JD; 375B Hoe St, E17 9AP.
Set up by Elder Pepukayi, an activist in the UK’s African liberation struggle, this Tottenham bookshop sells African-centred books. The literature spans many topics from Black pride to Black history and Black art. 366A High Rd, N17 9HT.
Founded by Londoner Angel Miller, No Ordinary Book Shop, sells children’s books centred around BAME characters. Last year it expanded to sell Black-centric adult books too. It usually hosts various pop-up libraries and stalls around London. While these are paused you can browse its online shop.
This inclusion-led bookshop in Brixton only sells children’s books with Black, Asian or minority ethnic protagonists. The shop, set up by Aimée Felone and David Stevens, came about after a report from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) found just 1 percent of more than 9,000 children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character. Brixton Village, 97 Granville Arcade, SW9 8PS.
Closed right now, but to support in the future:
New Beacon Books
Founded in 1966, New Beacon Books was the UK’s first Black publisher and bookshop and is still going strong after staving off closure in 2017. Over the years its publishing arm has printed a huge number of books from Black writers, including the Trinidadian historian, journalist and socialist CLR James’s first and only novel. Both its bricks-and-mortar and online shop are closed temporarily until July. 76 Stroud Green Rd, N4 3EN.
If there are other Black-owned bookshops in London you think we should add, please email us at email@example.com.
Want to support other Black-owned businesses in London? These resources will help connect you to them.