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Black Classic Press

The Black Book Community


Chat Transcript: Black Books in the Age of the Coronavirus (March 22, 2020)

00:47:42 Greg Thomas: Hello, Paul — and THANKS for doing this!!!
00:48:05 Jason Vasser-Elong: Thanks for getting this going....jason vasser-elong
00:48:09 Jeffrey Blair: Great to be here!
00:48:50 Johnson Lancaster: Hello Paul, this is Johnson from Progressive Emporium in St. Louis, MO. Asante for doing this.
00:49:02 Adrienne Ingrum: Thrilled that we're doing this. Adrienne Ingrum
00:49:14 Calvin Reid: Calvin Reid senior news editor at Publishers Weekly
00:49:23 Willa Robinson: Willa Robinson, publisher, Knowledge Power Books/KP Publishing, Valencia, CA
00:49:26 Harriett's Bookshop: Jazz - Events Specialist @ Harriett's Bookshop in Philadelphia, PA
00:49:33 Jeffrey Blair: Jeffrey Blair from Eyeseeme African American Children's Bookstore in St. Louis
00:49:33 christine munroe: christine munroe avid reader glad to be here
00:49:35 Melissa Schabel: Melissa Schabel, Adult Services Librarian in a diverse community
00:49:39 Alicia Williams: Hi, I'm Alicia D. Williams, author. Charlotte, NC.
00:49:43 Jason Vasser-Elong: Greetings, Jason Vasser-Elong, author with a debut collection of poetry Shrimp (2Leaf Press)...good to be here.
00:49:49 Rochon Perry: Rochon Perry, President and Publisher, Cedar Grove Publishing
00:49:54 Delores Connors: Delores Connors
00:49:55 Audrey Hipkins: Hi, I’m
00:50:03 Tonya Ellis: Author Tonya Duncan Ellis
00:50:08 CMH: Hi — just a lover of books, particularly Black writers
00:50:11 Sister Rekhet: Hello community! Rekhet Si-Asar, In Black Ink - a publishing initiative in St. Paul, MN.
00:50:15 Janifer Wilson: Greetings Janifer and Kori here from Sister's Uptown Bookstore in NYC
00:50:15 Deborah Bernal: Deborah Bernal MD KWK Iya Ifabola Author, Yogi, Physician and visual artist
00:50:33 Sharon D. Johnson: Hi, I'm Sharon Johnson, author, screenwriter, college instructor (Los Angels CA)
00:50:33 Tricia Cochee: Tricia Cochee, author, writer, from LA, Cali, friend of James Fugate
00:50:35 Audrey Hipkins: Hi, I’m Audrey Hipkins from the Hurston/Wright Foundation
00:50:36 Kerstin Carson: Kerstin Carson, reader and book indexer
00:50:43 Sean Liburd: Carolette Liburd, Knowledge Bookstore Brampton Canada
00:50:47 Ibrahim Ahmad: Ibrahim Ahmad, editorial director, Akashic Books in Brooklyn. Great to see so many familiar names here. hope you’re all keeping well.
00:50:52 Khem Irby: Greetings to everyone!
00:50:56 Sharita Fauche: Sharita Fauche Co-Director of CPLAN in Massachusetts and avid reader
00:51:00 CharisseC: Hi all! this is Charisse Carney-Nunes from DC author of Nappy and former producer of the Book Look. Thank you Baba Pail, Troy and all who pulled this together!! ❤️❤️
00:51:00 Johnson Lancaster: Jason, Jeffrey, Karibu,udugu!
00:51:19 Tricia Cochee: Thanks to all for having this!
00:51:23 Linda Oppenheim: Linda Oppenheim Retired librarian. Member Black Voices book club.
00:51:30 Owusu Bandele: Greetings All. Owusu Bandele from Baton Rouge, LA. I conduct Black History Quiz bowls in Baton Rouge (elementary thru college). All participants receive Black books purchased from a Black Book Store in New Orleans(Community Book Center).
00:51:35 Dera Williams: Dera R. Williams from Oakland, CA. Author, genealogist and Children's writing mentor.
00:51:35 Carla Du Pree: Carla Du Pree with CityLit Project in Baltimore
00:51:42 Irene Briggs: Hello, Irene Briggs, retired librarian from Silver Spring, MD
00:51:44 rosemari mealy: loving all of y’all peace stay healthy rosemari mealy
00:51:49 Eugene Holley: Hi from Eugene Holley, freelance contributor, Publishers Weekly, Down Beat magazine.
00:51:57 Nkechi Taifa: Greetings this is Nkechi Taifa. Upcoming Memoir, Black Power Black Lawyer: My Audacious Quest for Justice! Excited to join the call.
00:51:57 Delores Connors: Hello Everyone Delores Connors Author/ 143 ReadmorePublishing
00:52:04 Jason Vasser-Elong: Yep...I can here it too...jaspm
00:52:09 Kahlil: A. Al-Kahlil-Bey, Educator/Mental Health Therapist
00:52:12 Yvette Long: Hello this is Yvette Long
00:52:23 Khem Irby: Please remember to put your phones on mute
00:52:26 Jeff Lewis: hello
00:52:28 Alia Jones: Hi. Alia Jones Library Assistant from Cincinnati OH
00:52:31 Janet Jones: Hi Everyone
00:52:36 Olubunmi Bakare: Olubunmi Bakare LA DC Public Library
00:52:37 Marcia Fleming: Hi, I’m Marcia Fleming. I am a member of a women’s literary group and we enjoy readings by African American and African female authors. We also read African American male authors, but with less frequency.
00:52:43 Kevin Johnson: Kevin Wayne Johnson here
00:52:44 Walid Petiri: Peace greetings and good health to all this is Walid Petiri
00:52:45 Greg Carr: Good day everyone, from Greg Carr in DC. Wonderful idea and glad to be here for the conversation.
00:52:46 Chaga Walton: Chaga & Althea Walton - Chicago - reader, friend
00:53:11 Trylonda Whytus: hello. Trylonda W, counselor, Nebraska interested reader
00:53:19 Charlene Phipps: Hello, I hope everyone is well. I’m Charlene Phipps, Independent community advocates and parents. Baltimore, Maryland.
00:53:23 Donna Gray-Banks: Donna M. Gray-Banks Fresh Book Festival
00:53:29 Bennett Johnson: Bennett Johnson of Path Press cannot been seen
00:53:36 Lorielle Hollaway: Hey Yall!! Thank you to the amazing #BlackBookCommunity for hosting this talk. I'm Lorielle J. Hollaway of Cultured Books a pop-up children's bookstore located in sunny St. Pete, FL.
00:53:40 Ricky Pierre: Hello everyone, I' am an educator for Los Angeles Unified School District
00:53:49 Dera Williams: I am also a member of Marcus Book Store book club.
00:54:15 Kristina Roberts: Hello. This is Zane.
00:54:44 Marc Little: Marc Curtis Little, Author
00:54:55 Ricky Pierre: This is Ricky Pierre from LAUSD
00:55:03 Dean Taylor: Greetings.
00:55:26 Sherese Francis: Hello everyone and thank you for this conversation
00:55:33 Frances Martindale: Hello from Frances Martindale The Gordon School
00:55:35 Galaxy S8: Hello Angela Page children's book author.
00:55:51 Kadija George: Hello, This is Kadija George. I’ve never done zoom before so excuse me but I can hear people so that’s cool
00:56:16 Anthony Hyman: Hello people. Great to be a part of the conversation.
00:57:08 Evelyn Shelburn: Good evening my beautiful people, participating from Redondo Beach, California. Future Best Selling Author!
00:58:06 Kadija George: I’m Kadija - I’m a researcher on Black British Book Publishers
00:58:15 Tanya Wright: Hi! I am Tanya Wight— I am an actor on Orange is the New Black. I have 2 books currently, with 20 children
00:58:24 Jacqueline Jones: Hello. Jacqueline L. Jones, Librarian Baton Rouge, LA
00:58:31 Michael Taylor: Author and Publisher from Houston.
00:58:34 Erika Walcott: Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing well!
00:58:41 Tanya Wright: s books on the way. I make films and TV shows from my books and others. Happy to be here!
00:58:51 Erika Walcott: Stay safe…wash those hands!
00:59:16 Deshanda Curtain-Rodney: Good evening. I'm Deshanda. I work at Afriware Books in Maywood, IL.
01:01:22 Akua HOPE: Greetings! Health and safety to all! Akua Lezli Hope, poet, Corning, New York.
01:01:46 Faith Knight: Good evening. Faith Knight, author in training

01:05:30 Evelyn Shelburn: Hey Esowon! probably spelling it wrong. But one of the best in Los Angeles (sorry Erika)
01:06:19 Donna Gray-Banks: Maybe we can take seniors orders over the phone and ask them to send their checks to you and then you send books.
01:06:21 Greg Thomas: ***I wonder about using phone chains to solicit and execute Black bookstore orders now to move beyond this “digital divide” reality. Older folk in particular get nuisance calls all the time but not productive ones like this as much.
01:06:42 Deborah Bernal: I send books to inmates but the federal bureau of prisons only accept books from Amazon to inmates and I would rather send from small businesses. How can we make this an available resource for the prisoners
01:07:03 Janet Jones: We want to say something!
01:07:06 Willa Robinson: Take orders over the phones.
01:07:13 Carla Du Pree: How about elder /. youth mentorships? People may be very open to helping an elder access books via a bookstore.
01:07:34 Ron Kavanaugh: Hi all, from the Bronx, Literary Freedom Project
01:07:49 Khem Irby: How do we remove the fear of ordering over the phone? I am willing to invest in a monthly book club.
01:08:00 Greg Thomas: I have sent books to prisons from SANKOFA before. The requirements I met was that the books had to come from businesses of any kind rather than from individual people — unless this has changed?
01:08:51 Khem Irby: Will you be sharing the websites/information of the presenters?
01:08:57 Donna Gray-Banks: The private prisons demand that the books come from a publisher. We have been very successful in Florida.
01:08:58 Sherese Francis: Maybe young people can deliver books to elders in the community and accept phone calls
01:08:59 Evelyn Shelburn: I had to go to Sally Beauty Supply (in search of a black one) but I called to see if they were open they are but you have to know what you want by name, drive over and they will take your $ through the mailbox in the door and then give you the product. so they are open but just not allowing customers in the store.
01:09:28 CP: can you get access to public school mailing list to provide mailing to inner city families
01:09:36 Michael Taylor: Will there be a replay of this webinar?
01:09:37 Deborah Bernal: this is what I was told from the inmates I work with They may just be misinformed.
01:09:37 Katura Hudson, Just Us Books: We'll share presenters info again at the end of the call.
01:10:26 Katura Hudson, Just Us Books: We are recording the webinar. Will have to determine how/if we can share
01:10:38 Marc Little: Can book clubs be partners in this effort?
01:11:02 Greg Thomas: Yes, Amazon is just one and the most visible of businesses, but normally you can send from various business sources to prisoners.
01:11:08 Sherese Francis: Also, possibly connect to libraries to possibly do a delivery program to local people
01:11:34 Natalie, Black Classic Press: Ideas at the end of this session can be sent to:
01:11:50 Lorielle J. Hollaway, Cultured Books: Opportunity: Partner with local organizations that have "community project dollars". We received a 1k order to supply books for a Feed & Read giveaway to students while school is out.
01:12:51 Greg Thomas: I don’t know that non-mail DELIVERY is a good option here due to the recommended restrictions of “social distancing” — for protection against possible transmission of the virus.
01:12:51 Leroy Mckenzie Jr.: Great call. I love this. I am a Book Publisher/Consultant and am here to help.
01:13:05 Wade Hudson: Sister Hollaway, that's what we are doing at Just Us Books.
01:13:42 Nzingha Nommo: AWP, will you consider drop shipping to our end customers?
01:14:16 Faith Knight: How successfully are you using social media publicists who know the ropes?
01:15:03 CP: is anyone looking at the federal relief package for small business...and is there a way that it be coordinated to assist the group
01:16:24 Martin Pratt: international students are going to churches or ngo
01:18:14 Dera Williams: Where is Sankofa Books located again?
01:19:00 Lorielle J. Hollaway, Cultured Books: DC across from Howard University.
01:19:30 Donna Gray-Banks: Sankofa Books 2714 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, DC
01:20:15 Martin Pratt: Martin Pratt here in Philly I am starting a Black Text News Alert system I would love to include any of your messages in our texts
01:20:31 Greg Thomas: I do wonder now, Shirikiana, if we can continue Book Clubs virtually, for ex., through your YouTube channel. We could share other video links there around books, authors, etc.?
01:23:02 Ron Kavanaugh: We're doing a virtual book club starting this Tuesday 7pm using Google Hangouts
01:23:05 Carla Du Pree: Please consider filling out this brief survey from Americans for the Arts on the economic impact of Covid-19 which allows your loss to be included as one figure to the federal government in order for them to understand the severity of it all. If you’re in Maryland soon they will do their own impact study, along with Listening Sessions that are real talk conversations about the needs of independent artists (who should see themselves as entrepreneurs). This survey is to be seen to represent one voice and the overall impact to our lives and the organizations.
01:25:11 Greg Thomas: It’d be great if everyone here on this call could go to the Sankofa website here and send that letter of support just mentioned by Shrikiana:
01:25:50 CMH: where can we get more info on virtual book clubs
01:25:52 Martin Pratt: thanks @Greg Done!!
01:26:15 Jessica Cabness: The letter will carry greater import if signed by DC residents only.
01:26:23 Calvin Reid: What is the Wind Rush?
01:26:29 CMH: thanks @ron
01:27:22 Martin Pratt: We have an office near K Street
01:27:41 Greg Thomas: Windrush Generation:
01:28:08 Calvin Reid: Thank you Greg Thomas!
01:29:02 Sharita Fauche: is there a way to get a list of all on the call who do not mind sharing their information in order to strategize how to support the ecosystem
01:29:35 Donna Gray-Banks: @Sharita, that would be wonderful...wonder how they can make that happen?
01:29:43 cheryl gill: Hello and that you for an opportunity to participate with a question: My question: Is there a compiled list of recommended books and publications that can be suggested to readers in the various age and grade groups elementary, junior high, high school, college and beyond? if yes when can that be located. Thank you Cheryl Gill Riley Cheryl Gill Riley Founder- Howard Moms Club Atlanta Student and Parent Advocacy 770-363-6656 Supporting families through an a-MAZE-ing Howard journey
01:31:22 Natalie, Black Classic Press: Nati: African World Books and Everyone's Books - Baltimore, ND
01:31:23 Alicia Williams: Cheryl Gill, a great start for these lists can be found on Troy's website Others can suggest other wonderful sites too.
01:33:18 Natalie, Black Classic Press: Correction: Everyone's Place (Baltimore, MD)
01:33:35 Martin Pratt: Texting
01:33:45 Martin Pratt: YouTube
01:33:50 Martin Pratt: WhatsApp
01:34:15 MahoganyBooks: I’d like to share a few ideas we’re executing during this time.
01:34:24 Greg Thomas: For now I believe mail is still considered very safe — so with phone chains and phone orders, mail delivery seems safe for now.
01:34:32 Ms Shirley: The Congressional Black Caucus held a "Coronavirus Response Act Telephone Town Hall on March 20. They are wanting to know how the pandemic is affecting your community, as they develop Phase 3 stimulus package. There is funding for small businesses. Contact Representative Karen Bass at or go to her website at
01:34:35 Kelly Starling-Lyons: Hi Cheryl, Agree with Alicia that Troy's site is a great resource. So is The Brown Bookshelf ( We're a team of Black authors and illustrators whose mission is to raise awareness of Black children's book creators. Check out the archive of our 28 Days Later (annual Black History Month) campaign. 12+ years of spotlights.
01:35:02 Martin Pratt: Partnering with Local Chapters of Urban League Enterprise Centers
01:35:04 Malaika Adero: selling online + traditional direct mail/order via land seems the only alternative to pick-up locations. Maybe we need to have a sub-movement to fill the digital gap.
01:35:17 Jason Vasser-Elong: Maybe the control may come from utilizing your email as well as your networks...helping other writers of color navigate new ways to distribute content.
01:35:22 Yvette Long: how do we find distributors to schools for our books. Can you offer any direction or names of companies that distribute to schools, such as text books.
01:35:39 Donna Craddock: yes Troy!
01:36:05 Sharon D. Johnson: There are free internet service offerings for students (not sure about for elders)
01:36:06 Ron Kavanaugh: Many bookstore went under because of the web bookstores and Amazon
01:36:07 Martin Pratt: if you don't have a robust email list there are quite a few organizations like 100 Black Men / National Sales Association - Black Organization
01:36:25 Martin Pratt: that could be approached to reach your local area
01:36:26 Donna Craddock: we need a united marketing for black owned bookstore
01:36:31 jack weber: USPS has a media mailing rate and First class rates that are inexpensive shipping of books that I have been using for shipping product.
01:36:44 Donna Craddock: Amazon is a bait and switch
01:36:54 Martin Pratt: Myself and Ella Curry used to virtual book tours
01:37:00 Martin Pratt: We could start that back up
01:37:15 CMH: We need to focus on getting folks online first and foremost; the Digital Divide is real.
01:37:31 Martin Pratt: Scheduled Virtual Book Tours to each of your sites that involved BookClubs and readers
01:37:41 Karen Baker: This is the perfect opportunity to compile a #Trumpflu Black Book reading list to promote encouraging everyone to read more during this time + patronize these Bookstores. I would be happy to promote such a list. Should be a short list.
01:37:49 Calvin Reid: Do you have to own a platform to be able to use it effectively especially when black people all over the platform everyday? We better be using twitter and other social media platforms. Amazon is another question.
01:38:01 Karen Baker: -kymone freeman
01:38:07 Martin Pratt: Yes Malaika definitely !!! SubMovement
01:38:13 Jason Vasser-Elong: I did not realize there was a dark side of Amazon??? Please share...
01:38:26 Greg Thomas: Can we get a link to Troy’s website and that Amazon story???
01:38:32 Martin Pratt:
01:38:36 Martin Pratt: Troy Site
01:38:36 Clarence Brown Heart&Soul magazine: as a magazine publisher with 3 web sites I am willing to create resource pages with links to all of our Black book stores
01:38:40 Donna Craddock: