Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NYC: A “Bookstore” State of Mind

By Danielle Hall

One of the things I value about the opportunity to travel to NYC with Black Studies annually is our visit to bookstores like Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem and the Strand Bookstore in the Village. You never really know what you will find, but chances are you will find a book that interests you and at a reasonable price.

[Related: Harlem & Hue-Man Bookstore]

Hue-Man is black-owned and has a considerable collection of new and used black book titles while the Strand has about every genre you could think of, including a very generous Black Studies section. In total, these independent bookstores are spaces that have a “feel” to them that you don’t get from shopping retailers like Barnes & Noble or even online (including shipping fees).

This year, I was able to purchase lightly used copies of two seminal texts in American/African American historiography from Hue-Man: Been In the Storm So Long by Leon F. Litwack and Kenneth Stampp’s The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 – both for under five dollars.

Additionally, I was able to purchase Haiti, History, and the Gods by Joan Dayan. This book stood out to me because it is one that I think will be valuable in my present and future research on Katherine Dunham. I am not certain what information I am seeking, but I hope that by exploring a comparative history of 18th and 19th century Haiti and Haiti as Dunham saw and experienced it in the 20th century, I too may be able to draw some conclusions and perhaps posit some new ideas about her life.

Related: Black Studies, NYC, 2012

Danielle Hall is a program coordinator and contributing writer for Black Studies @ SIUE.   

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