So Long, Marcus Books

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Sad news for San Francisco and the independent bookstore community: Marcus Books, the country’s oldest black bookstore, has been evicted. The store has been in its location in the Fillmore since 1960, serving as a meeting place for the city’s African American literary community.

Co-owners Karen and Greg Johnson wrote an open letter after the store locks were changed by the landlords:

With the numerous speeches of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee stating his commitment to righting the wrongs of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s slaughter of the thriving African American Fillmore District, we at Marcus Books believed the City would take some affirmative action on our behalf, since Marcus Books is the only surviving Black Business since the Redevelopment devastation.


Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →