Author Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel called, You Can’t Go Home Again. I respectfully disagree. It is true that we can’t recreate the 1960s, but some icons from those days remain alive and vibrant. Marcus Books in San Francisco opened in 1960. I spent time recently catching up with a friend from high school, Karen Richardson Johnson. Here she is talking about her family and the bookstore they created that is still serving the community:
The Richardson family is responsible for highlighting the Black experience in San Francisco, and beyond, through their social activism, their commitment to Black literature and education, and their creation of a place where the community can come together. The Fillmore in the City was a thriving Black neighborhood with businesses and some world famous jazz clubs in the 1940s and 1950s. A City redevelopment project displaced residents and businesses and broke up the neighborhood in the 1960s.
Our local PBS station, KQED, produced a documentary about the events in The Fillmore.
Find info at: http://www.pbs.org/kqed/fillmore/program/index.html
Many only know the name Fillmore to mean the Fillmore Auditorium where Bill Graham introduced us to the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. This neighborhood has a rich history before our version of rock-n-roll arrived. Most recently, the City has designated the area as the, “Historic Fillmore Jazz Preservation District.” Thankfully, the purple- painted Victorian built in the 1880s that houses Marcus Books, at 1712 Fillmore Street, is being considered for official Landmark Status.
Marcus Books has a second location in Oakland, managed by Blanche Richardson, Karen’s older sister, also a high school classmate. When I met with Karen at the San Francisco store, I brought copies of our high school yearbook photos. We had some good laughs and reminisced. I recommend a visit to either location to see an array of materials that you may not have seen anywhere else. There are wonderful books to browse and there are events planned at both store locations.
For info, check out: http://www.marcusbookstores.com/history.html