Rallying Point: Lewis Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore

Abstract

Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore, Harlem, NY, was the epicenter of black literary life and bookselling, 1933–c.1975. Michaux migrated from Virginia to escape farm work and his brother’s evangelical church, opting instead—despite the lack of formal education—to become a trafficker in ideas, through bookselling. A self-styled Garveyite, Michaux advised Malcolm X, though he never joined the Nation of Islam or advocated revolution. The bookshop—with a huge inventory of books about black experience and spearheaded by the charismatic bookseller (known as “The Professor”)—attracted a loyal clientele, championed famous writers and artists, and hosted international leaders (especially Africans). A rallying point for political speeches, often delivered in front of the store, in its period, there was no other black bookstore in America with Michaux’s influence.

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Correspondence to David Emblidge.

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Emblidge, D. Rallying Point: Lewis Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore . Pub Res Q 24, 267–276 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12109-008-9075-x

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Keywords

  • Activist
  • African
  • African-American
  • Back to Africa
  • Black Nationalism
  • Black Nationalist
  • Book shop
  • Bookseller
  • Bookselling
  • Bookstore
  • Garveyism
  • Garveyite
  • Harlem
  • Lewis Michaux
  • Malcolm X
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Nation of Islam
  • New York (City)