An entrepreneur is aiming to create a hub for Black literature in Orlando, Florida. Trenessa L. Williams has plans on expanding her online bookstore Kizzy’s Books & More into a brick-and-mortar store which would make it the only Black-owned bookstore in Orlando, Black News reported.
Williams initially started the online store as an avenue to promote literacy in the Black community, the news outlet writes. She wanted to create a space that sold literature where African Americans could see themselves reflected in the material that they read. Kizzy’s Books & More also sells different products that capture the essence of Black culture. The store’s moniker was inspired by the character Kizzy from Alex Haley’s Roots.
Williams wants the brick-and-mortar store to be built in the historically Black neighborhood of Parramore. The neighborhood—which was hugely impacted by racism that stemmed from the Jim Crow era—is currently being revitalized. Williams believes that it’s essential to have a store like Kizzy’s Books & More in the neighborhood because there is a lack of accessibility to Black literature. She has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to bring her vision to fruition.
Throughout the country, there has been an effort to create bookstores centered on Black literature and save ones that have been staples in African American communities for decades. In 2017, a Black couple opened MahoganyBooks in Anacostia. It was the first bookstore to open in 20 years in the Black Southeast Washington, D.C. neighborhood. During the same year, there was a major push to save Hakim’s Bookstore in Philadelphia. The store is the oldest Black-owned bookstore in America.