Tuesday, August 23, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Afriware Books, the brainchild of former electrical engineer Nzingha Nommo, is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year with a 3-day sale starting Aug. 25 and a book fair on Aug. 27.
The Maywood store, one of the longest surviving black-owned bookstores in the country, grew from a passion for books ignited in Nommo after she read Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” as part of a book club.
“It was so reflective of our experience at the time,” Nommo said in a 2014 Village Free Press interview.
“I eventually graduated to other works like ‘Black Economics’ by Jawanza Konjufu,” she said. “But the book that changed it all for me was the ‘Miseducation of the Negro.'”
After years doing business in nearby Oak Park, Nommo relocated the business to Maywood. In 2014, she shared her motivation for the move.
“This is where my number one customer–the African American–is concentrated. Word of mouth is a gold mine here and it’s strong,” she said.
“This community seems very tight knit. You can get to the right people quicker and sidestep the nonsense easier. Maywood is also cultural treasure–there’s the underground railroad connection, Fred Hampton. I’ve never been in a town that had a black mayor.”
More than 20 years after its founding, Afriware sells more than books. Customers can also find Shea butter, black soap, HBCU accessories and other products at Nommo’s Eisenhower Tower location. VFP
See or click the image below for more info on the store’s anniversary events and promotions.