Detroit’s First Black-Owned Bookstore Receives Preservation Grant

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Tall over the country there are physical structures embedded in the fabric of African American history; the walls of these rooms contain stories that illustrate the resilience of blacks and the joy of blacks. The National Park Service is working together to ensure that these historic sites are preserved for generations to come. According to the Michigan Advance, Vaughn’s Bookstore’s Detroit website has received a maintenance grant from the NPS.

The bookstore that was run by a Michigan politician Ed Vaughn– was the first black-owned bookstore in town. Vaughn, who served in the state House of Representatives in the 1970s and 1990s, opened the store in the early 1960s. Amid the civil rights movement, Vaughn’s bookstore quickly became a pillar within the community; It serves as a space for black writers and poets to share their work and also serves as a backdrop for meetings hosted by neighborhood leaders. During its nearly 40-year existence, the store has had many lives. It closed in 1967 after the Detroit riots, but Vaughn eventually reopened. No matter how many times he reinvented the bookstore, he has remained true to his original mission of celebrating and making black literature accessible. Vaughn’s bookstore closed in the late 1990s.

“The Vaughn bookstore was certainly something new to the community. There hadn’t been a bookstore here before, ”Vaughn said in an interview. “I came into the store looking for a book called A Hundred Years of Lynch Justice by Ginsberg and was told downtown that they didn’t have the book in stock and I decided I would see if I could find it. When I found it and my friends at the Post said they would love to read this and other Black books, I started ordering them and selling them out of the trunk of my car. Then I opened Vaughn’s Bookstore and we started selling books pretty briskly, people asking questions, and that was pretty much the mood in the bookstore. There was an awareness that has been raised throughout the community. ”The National Park Service awarded $ 15,000 to preserve the site as part of a major conservation initiative that will support 17 projects in 14 states.

In recent years, the NPS has presented initiatives to preserve historic spaces on the HBCU campus. In 2020, the agency announced that $ 7.7 million in grants will be used to restore and maintain these structures.

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HBCU conservation projects receive $ 7.7 million in grants from the National Park Service

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