“In addition to the best bookstore in Chicago, we are a space focused on black comfort,” said owner Danielle Mullen. “I want to see little black babies decide that they want to have a bookstore, everything is fine. You don’t have to rap, sing, perform, play basketball, you don’t have to do that, you can do whatever you want. Black people are very Subtle, I try to prove this fact every day.”
During the cancer attack in 2019, Mullen can’t just sit at home and do chemotherapy and radiation therapy. So she found an open space and built a semicolon bookstore!
“I just want to put a bunch of books here and talk about books with people because that’s where I am happy,” Mullen said.
Two years later, before her five-year plan, Mullen and her team of booksellers sold more than 50,000 books online and in stores every week.
From Malcom X to Trevor Noah, the semicolon is indeed the place where black literature shines. “Reading is a revolutionary behavior, literacy is a kind of freedom,” is the business motto of Mullen and her team.
Mullen is using her black-owned small businesses to combat Chicago’s low literacy rate and promote positive narratives about black book reading and sales.
“I started to realize that we are not only bringing a representation to the community but also to the book sales space, which is obviously necessary,” Mullen said. “It shows black booksellers as black book readers, which is very important.”
The branch bookstore is preparing to open a new and larger space in the fall.access Semicolon Learn more and browse their online collection.
515 N Halstead Street
Chicago, Illinois 60642