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Books on racism flying off the shelves, says Norfolk bookstore owner: 'They are all out of stock right now'

Posted at 8:53 PM, Jun 09, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - The death of George Floyd is causing some people to march on the streets, while others march into bookstores.

“Our book club decided today to read this book by Lisa Windgate.” said Billye Roy.

"The Book of Lost Friends" is a novel about freed slaves in the late 1800s.

“Books like this give us a glimpse, just a glimpse,” said customer Anne Donnal.

A glimpse on African-American history and race in the country.

The owner of Prince Books on Main Street, Sarah Pishko, says trying to keep books about racism on shelves is a challenge. Her phone won’t stop ringing.

“[Customers] kept calling for [books about] white fragility, how to be an anti-racist, and that’s just two of them, of course - there’s many,” adds Pishko.

She says before the death of Floyd, she had several race-related books on the shelf. Right after the protest started, they sold out, and now they are on backorder.

“And of course, the publishers all ran out. One lady called on the phone and said, ‘But I have to read the book now!'” she adds.

The dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Norfolk State University, Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, says people are hungry for history.

"People are alerted more than ever to issues that have simmering in our country since 1619."

For people who are interested in learning more about race in America, below is a list of Dr. Newby-Alexander’s suggestions:

  • Michelle Alexander’s "The New Jim Crow" (2010)
  • Bryan Stephenson’s "Just Mercy" (2014)
  • Robin DiAngelo’s "White Fragility" (2018)
  • Ibram Kendi’s "Stamped from the Beginning" (2016)
  • Richard Rothstein’s "The Color of Law" (2017)
  • Bryan Stephenson’s Equal Justice Initiative website with educational materials, which you can access here

“I feel like with reading and learning, we can stay open long enough for some real change,” adds Donnal.

Change that future generations can also read about one day.

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