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Pennsylvania's First Black Bookstore Will Be Honored As an Official Historical Marker

Instagram: HakimsBookstore

Entrepreneur and author Dawud Hakim made history in the 1950s by founding Pennsylvania's first and oldest African American-owned bookstore. He was also a scholar, lecturer and publisher. As a forerunner in the fight for racial equity, Hakim's Bookstore offered countless books by African American authors. According to CBS, the bookstore is now being awarded an official historical marker.

His daughter, Yvonne Blake, has followed in his footsteps and continues to embrace the vision set in motion years ago as the current owner. She reflects on the humble beginnings of her father's business, which began with Hakim selling books out of the trunk of his car and his inspiring mission to enlighten others regarding African American history.

"What was being taught in schools and the way America itself was educated about African-Americans is that our history began with slavery," Blake said in an interview with AL DIA News. "When my father found that was not true, he became interested in sharing that knowledge with others."

Hakim's Bookstore's website states that Dawud Hakim passed away due to cancer at age 65 in 1997. His life is still remembered and celebrated through the acknowledgment of his achievements.

Instagram: HakimsBookstore

With a vision in mind, Dawud Hakim opened Hakim's Bookstore in 1959 in West Philadelphia. In addition to this location, Hakim owned and operated a bookstore in Atlanta, Georgia. Inspired by the writings of the late author J.A. Rogers, his passion for African American history was further kindled.

Aware of the lack of books featuring African American culture and history, Hakim pioneered and provided an outlet where such content was readily available. His bookstore became renowned across the country for rare books, which couldn't be found in mainstream bookstores or libraries.

Aside from African American history, he explored such topics as natural nutrition, holistic health, and herbology and also wrote books on African and Islamic names.

Hakim left a lasting legacy rooted in a deep appreciation for African American heritage, culture, and the positive impact on society and the world. He is fondly remembered for offering guidance and his generosity was reflected in his contributions to the community by helping those in need.

"We're here and we have the ability to help [local authors] showcase their work and get started," Blake said in an interview with The Hawk News Paper. "My father used to always take in books from new authors and always tried to give people a hand up. Once he got established, he wanted to help other people do the same thing."

The official date for the historical marker presentation has yet to be announced.


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