Cover Photo: A stack of books by Black writers including Colson Whitehead, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Bryan Stevenson, and Ibram X. Kendi sits atop a table.
Photograph by Tim Wildsmith/Unsplash

Bookseller Spotlight: Shirikiana Aina Gerima of Sankofa Video, Books & Café

The Washington, D.C. bookstore “represents the generation of people who kept Black publishing and Black voices alive while they were under attack.”

Bookseller Spotlight, a series of features by Steve Haruch on the business of bookselling.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Sankofa Video, Books & Café in Washington, D.C., like so many other small businesses, shut its doors in response. Then, co-owner Shirikiana Aina Gerima gave her buyer instructions that had once been unthinkable: take down all the books and send them back. It was like having cash sitting on the shelves, and cash was one thing they couldn’t afford to let collect dust.




Ashes and EmbersBrick by BrickThrough the Door of No Return

Photograph courtesy of Shirikiana Aina Gerima



SankofaBlack Power Chronicles

Steve Haruch is a writer based in Nashville. He edited the books Greetings From New Nashville and People Only Die of Love in Movies: Film Writing by Jim Ridley. His work has appeared at The New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR's Code Switch and elsewhere.