Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s novel No Crystal Stair is the last book standing in SLJ’s annual Battle of the Books. I could not be prouder—especially given the stunning quality of the finalists and indeed of the whole bracket.
NCS (because it was an all-acronym finals this year) seems to have been something of a surprise winner, if the comments are to be believed, and I think there’s a certain poetry to that fact. After all, Lewis Michaux was a man who, when applying for a loan to open a bookstore in Harlem, was told to sell fried chicken instead. “Negroes don’t read,” the banker said. No one would bet on Lewis.
A couple decades later, after selling precisely zero fried chickens and an untold number of books* to countless Negroes, things had changed for Lewis. I thought of this passage when I read Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Big Kahuna post on Monday morning:
Yes indeed, some respect for The House of Common Sense and Proper Propaganda. And we’re all very grateful for it.
<img alt="Lewis Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore, 125th St. and Seventh Avenue, Harlem (1964).
“The House of Common Sense, the Home of Proper Propaganda.”” src=”http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llbox7uHex1qk2ilko1_400.jpg” width=”544″ height=”681″>
* Literally untold, as in he wouldn’t tell anyone: