The community will be better because of it!
Victoria Scott-Miller and husband Duane Miller are the owners of Liberation Station Bookstore, something they started in 2019 as a pop-up shop, Spectrum News 1 reports. Scott-Miller recalls not being able to find a lot of books with Black children represented for her two sons, Emerson and Langston, at their local bookstore. That’s when the duo decided to begin sourcing their own.
“We were filling a need for our children and it just so happened to fill a need for the community,” she explained.
For the last 4 years, Scott-Miller and her husband have been hosting these pop up shops around North Carolina, gaining local support and being featured on national platforms like Good Morning America, CNN and Oprah Magazine, Blavity reports. Their mission of supporting “Black literacy, legacy, and liberation,” by providing quality children’s books written by people of the African diaspora has culminated in this very moment and the couple say they couldn’t be prouder.
“We were the first Black-owned bookstore we ever set foot in. To know that we have carved out a space in the universe for our children to feel safe and to be able to be curious, to be joyful…It’s overwhelming to think about,” Scott-Miller told reporters.
According to the mompreneur, statistics from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center report that animals are featured in 29% of children’s books. That’s in comparison to only 12% of children of color represented in those books. By creating a brick and mortar store for Liberation Station, she hopes to help raise that number, featuring books that range in diversity and highlight texts from the African Diaspora, inspirational reads, and a special wall dedicated to books that have been banned in schools.
“This will be like a candy store for them. They get to choose and these narratives are not going to be based in trauma. They will be based in hope and healing and excitement and imagination and innovation,” said Scott-Miller.
The two join a legion of new independent authors and book enthusiasts who are dedicated to diversifying children’s literature by sourcing through independent authors and creating their own. Recently, Tristyn’s Book Club founder Christina Wilds hosted an event in celebration of Black Children's Book Week, creating a platform for indie authors and exposing her community of readers to a litany of new books that celebrate and affirm Black children.
“Growing up we didn’t have these books with Black characters on the cover so to be able to celebrate Black authors, indie authors, and mainstream authors during this time is something I definitely wanted to make sure we used our platform [in service of]...it’s very hard to find 500 mainstream Black authors, but there are thousands of Black people who have written these books and these stories that I would love to continue to just put out there,” said Wilds.
Currently, the Millers have launched a fundraising campaign to support Liberation Station Bookstore ahead of their Juneteenth opening in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Raleigh deserves this. It just [makes] me feel like we can do it too,” said Scott-Miller.
To keep up with Liberation Station Bookstore, follow them on Instagram here.
Cover photo: Couple set to open first Black-owned children’s bookstore in North Carolina/Photo Courtesy of Liberation Station Bookstore/Instagram