OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) – Marcus Books has been a Bay Area staple for decades and it continues to thrive in Oakland as the nation’s oldest black bookstore.
Marcus Books has always been family owned. Dr. Julian Richardson and his wife, Dr. Raye Richardson, founded the bookstore in 1960 in San Francisco’s Fillmore district inside their printing shop. It was originally called Success Book Store, but they later changed the name to Marcus Books, after political leader and publisher, Marcus Garvey.
Karen Johnson is now a co-owner of Marcus Books with her siblings. She recalls when their father wanted to open the bookstore in his printing shop.
“My dad in his print shop would want to share books with his friends and never got his books back so he said, ‘Let’s start selling books,’” Johnson said. “I asked him, ‘Will white people let you sell black books?’ He said, ‘It’s not about them. This is what we need.’” . . .