Don't Let Black Herstory Be Destroyed ( Or Moved!)

Tiny - Posted on 21 June 2013

Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia , daughter of Dee, mama of Tiburcio

(image courtesy of The Bay View Newspaper)


What does Black History/Black Herstory look like, walk like, dream like, be like?... it looks like Marcus Books in San Francisco…

“Our Afrikan deep structures are rooted in spirit,” said Wade Nobles

As I heard about the pending eviction and displacement of the Black His-Story/Her-Story making institution of Marcus Books in San Francisco, the transformative words of one of me and my Black/Indian mama’s mentors, author and scholar Dr Wade Nobles, who gave us reading lists with books only available for purchase at the humble bookstore on Fillmore st., sailed through my mind

From this attack on this important space of Herstory-making,  It seems that in a society, so deeply rooted in profit margins and real estate speculation, that history itself is considered unimportant? Or, perhaps is it that the his-story and her-story of African and Indigenous peoples is unimportant or, is that the history of oppressed peoples and the self-determined, People Of Color owned places that preserve it are facing an intentional form of genocide by the 21st century colonizers who destroy with profit margins, eviction papers and interest rates instead of guns and small pox blankets?

Or is it that anything/anyone rooted in place/location in a capitalist society that values money and property above all else, is always at-risk.

POOR Magazine launched, By Any Means Necessary, our tiny publishing arm in 2003 called POOR Press/Prensa POBRE, started because we as multi-racial poor, indigenous/landless/houseless peoples knew ours, the voices of oppressed peoples of color, were intentionally silenced, left out and/or kept out from the publishing and media industries and if we could provide media and publishing access for even a small amount of folks saying and creating and being outside of the dominant colonized voice we were chipping away at the colonizers, eugenicist washed and stolen history.

POOR Press titles include Krip Hop's own Leroy Moore, Queenandi XSheba and Tony Robles, all poverty skolaz who use, consume and attend the power-FUL Marcus Books for so many parts of their literary and political growth, not to mention my mama who would almost spend her whole SSI check lost in shelves of Marcus Books

When we looked to models of access, liberation and resistance, it was always Marcus Books, one of the oldest Black owned book stores in the country , located in the Western Addition or Fillmo’ one of the oldest African neighborhoods in San Francisco.

But now that we face this displacement of the family and their important learning, art, history/herstory institution, it must be said, none of us are safe from what I affectionately call, the “devil-opers” and real estate snakes inherent in capitalism, San Francisco style.

The displacement of Marcus Books is actually a form of History genocide and tragically telling that this is even happening at all in this City of Twitter write-offs and Google buses.

Perhaps because real history, genuine place with real peoples doesn’t fit into some tourist-esque preservation/gentrification plan where the remains of real people and real places are relegated to plaques in cement or on walls surrounded by “mixed use” condominiums and endless redevil-opment.

One of our revolutionary ancestors that guide us at POOR Magazine, along with my Mama Dee, is poet and community skola Al Robles, another revolutionary resident of the Fillmore, who along with the many cultures of Pacific Islander, Afrikan and Japanese peoples made up the Fillmore. His nephew, PNN co-editor, Tony Robles, read an excerpt from one of his poems for a recent PNN radio segment we did on Marcus Books;

Cleanhead Smith

Wailing Funky blues

Jacks On Sutter Street

Cousin Jimbo’s Bop City After hours

Flip Nuenez

Cool brown fingers

Blowing How High the Moon... Al Robles

The city still has a chance to rise up with honor and make this right, the buyers can do the right thing and be real people and let the family buy the space back and remain in their home (which is above the store) with help from Westside Community Services, and we as people in the world still have a chance to keep Black His-story and Her-story from being relegated to a museum, a plaque or just a memory… told by someone else.

People should show up to the book store, 1712 Fillmore St., San Francisco to a press conference Saturday, June 22, noon to 3 p.m. to show our collective support for their power-ful life and herstory!


Sign-up for POOR email!