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Richard Newman

William Plummer French was born February 19, 1943 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the son of Frank J. French, vice-president of Allied Chemical Co. and Bettina Plummer French. He worked at University Place Book Shop in New York, owned by Walter Goldwater, and became fascinated with African American books and literature, a field the shop specialized in to serve two major collectors, Arthur Schomburg and Arthur Spingarn.

Self-taught by the books in the store, French became probably the country's most knowledgeable expert on African American books and bibliography. He compiled two biographical pamphlets on black poetry, and in 1979 co-edited Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760–1975. Pre-deceased by his wife, the painter Garland Eliason, French died in New York of a stroke on January 14, 1997 survived by his son Will A book collecting prize at the Department of Afro American Studies at ...


Barbara Kraley Youel

bookseller and black nationalist, was born in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Henry Michaux and Blanche Pollard. Some uncertainty about his birth date exists because his death certificate from the New York Vital Records Department lists it as 23 August 1884. Before coming to New York, Michaux worked variously as a pea picker, window washer, and deacon in the Philadelphia, church of his brother, Lightfoot Solomon Michaux. According to Edith Glover, his secretary when he was a deacon, Michaux started selling books in Philadelphia with an inventory of five. When he founded his bookstore in 1932 in Harlem, he still had only a few books with him, including Up from Slavery, plus a bust of its author, Booker T. Washington. Michaux initially sold books from a wagon, then moved to a store on Seventh Avenue (later renamed Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard ...


Alison Nichols

bookseller and founder of Harlem's Liberation Bookstore, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, one of three children of Marie Avis Mulzac and Hugh Mulzac, the first black commander of a ship in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Hugh Mulzac, a socialist, was later investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee and was blacklisted when he refused to testify before it.

Una Mulzac grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She attended and graduated from that neighborhood's Girls’ High School, where she ran track while holding down a job as a secretary at Random House. That position helped to turn her interest to publishing. In the 1960s she moved to British Guiana (now Guyana) to fight for revolution and was severely injured by a bomb. Discouraged by the changing political climate in the country, in 1967 she moved to Harlem where she opened up Liberation Bookstore on what is now known as ...