According to the African-American Literature Book Club, a national compilation of these stores, there are only four bookstores in the Sunshine State owned by people of African descent and they’re located in Longwood, Tampa, Pensacola and St. Petersburg. There’s a new one, though, which is as-yet unlisted on the book club site, and it is titled Our Third Eye Bookstore and it is in West Palm Beach (WPB). Opened in April, the bookstore is owned by Brother Carl Muhammad, who has been pushing equality in education for decades; just ask the School District of Palm Beach County (PBC), whose meetings he attends monthly. He launched the bookstore as part of that larger push and hosts education-focused events there every month. Next one: newly elected WPB City Commissioner Richard Ryles will discuss public service and community support from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, June 15. Besides Our Third Eye, Florida is also home to:
- Dare Books in Longwood, which relocated there from New York
- Best Books, Rich Treasures, Tampa, which relocated from Virginia
- The Gathering Awareness and Book Center, Pensacola
- Cultured Books, St. Petersburg
Until June of last year, there had been another ‘sole’ diaspora-focused bookstore in PBC: Pyramid Books in Boynton Beach, which had been owned by Akhbar James Watson and still sells books online here. Indeed, there’s a couple of other online-only black-owned book retailers based in Florida: Kizzy’s Books & More sells online here and has plans to open a retail location this year in the Orlando area, while The African Bookstore was borne after its bricks-and-mortar shop closed in Plantation. It was founded in 1994 by Horatio Harrison, a Jamaican who died in 2017, and his daughter remains in charge. Visit its site here. “Education is the new civil rights struggle,” Brother Carl said, “and we all have to get in that fight.” Learn more about his work, his goals and the bookstore here. And watch the video, below, of him discussing the bookstore and his plans.