Philly’s Oldest Black-Owned Bookstore to Receive State Historical Marker

Last month, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission approved thirty-seven new historic markers across Pennsylvania out of ninety-one applicants. Hakim’s Bookstore was one of the locations selected.

Established in 1959 by original owner Dawud Hakim, Hakim’s Bookstore is the longest-operating Black-owned bookstore in Philadelphia. According to their website, Mr. Hakim’s “consuming passion for health and education led him to open his first bookstore” in West Philadelphia.

Mr. Hakim’s daughter, Yvonne Blake, took over the family business in 2013. According to CBS Philadelphia, Blake shared that her father “felt a calling to curate this library, to amplify our country’s awareness of African American history that existed before slavery.” He sold books about African Americans written by African Americans. Mr. Hakim devoted his life to educating African Americans and others about their “rich heritage and culture and other countless contributions to the world.”

According to the Historical Commission’s press release, the marker will read: Hakim’s Bookstore represents a center for Black activism, advocating the power of knowledge in the fight for racial justice. Since the 1960s, people have gathered here to access titles by Black authors. During the Civil Rights Movement it served as an alternative education center for the Black community.

Today, Dawud Hakim’s daughters and granddaughter continue the legacy of his bookstore. To learn more about Hakim’s Bookstore, click here. For a list of all thirty-seven approved historical markers, click here.