BBDI Directory

Marcus Books

Contact: Julian & Raye Richardson
Work 3900 Martin Luther King Jr Way Oakland CA 94609 United States Work Phone: 510- 652- 2344 Website:

About This Business

Photo of Marcus Books

The bookstore’s founders, Drs. Raye and Julian Richardson met at Tuskegee University which they both attended. In 1946 Julian started Success Printing Co. in the Fillmore District of San Francisco and in 1960, the two founded Marcus Books (named after political activist and author Marcus Garvey). Together — and through both the publishing press and bookstore — they fiercely advocated for Black history, exchange, and knowledge of self. They published now canonical books (that had before their resurrection gone out of print) and work by independent authors, poets, and artists. Marcus Books is an institution where those who have written books, produced visual work and more can see themselves on a shelf, wall or counter surrounded by other Black makers.

60 years since its opening, the bookstore has become a literary and cultural hallmark that has hosted iconic authors including Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Angela Davis, Terry McMillan, Chaka Khan, Michael Eric Dyson, Iyanla Vanzant, Sister Souljah, Nikki Giovanni, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patti LaBelle and so many more of our treasured voices. Just as important are the book clubs, intimate poetry readings, and countless customer conversations that unfold at Marcus.

Marcus Books (formerly “Success Printing”) is the oldest bookstore that specializes in African-American literature, history, and culture in the United States. For many years, it has been located in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, with a second location in Oakland, California.

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