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First black bookshop in UK shuts down

by | Dec 30, 2021 | News

Due to financial difficulties, the UK’s first black bookshop will close after 55 years.

Finsbury Park’s New Beacon Books first opened in 1966 and was saved from closure as recently as 2016.It has been confirmed that due to financial pressures exacerbated by Coronavirus, alongside competition from online retailers such as Amazon, the store will close its physical store on Stroud Green Road and only operate online.

According to Prof Augustine John, chair of the Communities Empowerment Network (CEN) charity, the UK’s first black publisher and specialist bookshop should be saved as it is “at the heart of the community”.

New Beacon Books is the only independent black publisher and book seller in the United Kingdom.

“Throughout its 55 years, it has been essential to the growth of the Black Education Movement, the Black Supplementary School Movement, and current calls for the decolonization of the curriculum” he said.

Prof John, an award-winning Grenadian writer, added: “It remains a huge part of the history of the adaptation of British society to its historical black presence. Save and develop it for coming generations”.

Earlier this month, the store announced its closure on its website to dismay and disappointment on social media.

Adjoa Andoh tweeted: “I am so sad about the closure of this wonderful bookshop and the haven of cultural solidarity and information it provided to the black and extended communities for over half a century”.

The shop’s director, Michael La Rose, said: “sustained movement” was needed to guarantee the survival of black bookshops”.

“The consciousness-raising of the global [Black Lives Matter] movement has made every country question what is happening in its society – people want to know what has happened in the past, to find books and information, to get facts” he said.

Source: The Guardian

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