A press where Black labors are not in vain

“The Black press matters, and it, along with the media and press of all the marginalized, will be our saving grace going forward.”

I’m just a short drive or bus ride away from not just one but both Washington, D.C. area locations of the phenomenal Mahogany Books, an upscale bookstore dedicated to Black-authored and -centered books from all around the African diaspora.

The second and most recent location is in a prime tourist and convention village on the Potomac River. This area, National Harbor, Maryland, pops up in datelines during the annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) gathering (though CPAC abandoned National Harbor this past year for a less Covid-restrictive location in Florida). It is not known nationally as the safe, open footbridge, bike, and pedestrian trail and community center connecting our region’s state-level and state-like municipalities, teeming with people of all walks of life.

But that footbridge was a refuge for me at the height of the pandemic, and going to my Planet Fitness across the street felt dangerous. I wrote about how much I loved the Virginia shores of this Potomac River connector earlier this year in another publication, but in this prediction, the Maryland shores are getting some much-needed attention, along with its beloved bookstore.

Mahogany is one of many Black bookstores, including Harambee just off that Virginia shore, that were highlighted in this list from Oprah Daily of all the Black bookstores in the United States.

Mahogany is also the same bookstore that hosted the book club former president Barack Obama visited. Most recently — with a sibling Black and queer-owned bookstore, Loyalty, and the D.C. Public Library — it hosted a sold-out The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story book talk with Nicole Hannah-Jones.

Stores like these prove that Black lives can be centered, prosperous, and free, while providing a key service — information — to all.

The spread of information — accurate information — is vital. And just like we have an army of Black bookstores, and feminist bookstores, and LGBTQIA+ bookstores, 2022 will mark the year that my publications, The Black Urbanist and Kristpattern, will join so many others — Essence, a rebooted Ebony, Sesli, Black Enterprise, The Undefeated, Radicle Threads, Capital B, The 19th, and so many more — in their own cavalry of informative, accurate, timely, solution-filled and service-powered press.

A press where our labors are not in vain. A press on the shoulders of our ancestors Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells-Barnett and John H. Johnson. A press that — rather than disrespecting and marginalizing not just its communities but its laborers and journalists — calls back our collective power, breaking down all the doors and walls. A press that will lead our economy and be a daily source of information, not just in crisis or pain.

Black information matters. The Black press matters, and it, along with the media and press of all the marginalized, will be our saving grace going forward.

Kristen Jeffers is founder and editor-in-chief of Kristen Jeffers Media.

I’m just a short drive or bus ride away from not just one but both Washington, D.C. area locations of the phenomenal Mahogany Books, an upscale bookstore dedicated to Black-authored and -centered books from all around the African diaspora.

The second and most recent location is in a prime tourist and convention village on the Potomac River. This area, National Harbor, Maryland, pops up in datelines during the annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) gathering (though CPAC abandoned National Harbor this past year for a less Covid-restrictive location in Florida). It is not known nationally as the safe, open footbridge, bike, and pedestrian trail and community center connecting our region’s state-level and state-like municipalities, teeming with people of all walks of life.

But that footbridge was a refuge for me at the height of the pandemic, and going to my Planet Fitness across the street felt dangerous. I wrote about how much I loved the Virginia shores of this Potomac River connector earlier this year in another publication, but in this prediction, the Maryland shores are getting some much-needed attention, along with its beloved bookstore.

Mahogany is one of many Black bookstores, including Harambee just off that Virginia shore, that were highlighted in this list from Oprah Daily of all the Black bookstores in the United States.

Mahogany is also the same bookstore that hosted the book club former president Barack Obama visited. Most recently — with a sibling Black and queer-owned bookstore, Loyalty, and the D.C. Public Library — it hosted a sold-out The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story book talk with Nicole Hannah-Jones.

Stores like these prove that Black lives can be centered, prosperous, and free, while providing a key service — information — to all.

The spread of information — accurate information — is vital. And just like we have an army of Black bookstores, and feminist bookstores, and LGBTQIA+ bookstores, 2022 will mark the year that my publications, The Black Urbanist and Kristpattern, will join so many others — Essence, a rebooted Ebony, Sesli, Black Enterprise, The Undefeated, Radicle Threads, Capital B, The 19th, and so many more — in their own cavalry of informative, accurate, timely, solution-filled and service-powered press.

A press where our labors are not in vain. A press on the shoulders of our ancestors Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells-Barnett and John H. Johnson. A press that — rather than disrespecting and marginalizing not just its communities but its laborers and journalists — calls back our collective power, breaking down all the doors and walls. A press that will lead our economy and be a daily source of information, not just in crisis or pain.

Black information matters. The Black press matters, and it, along with the media and press of all the marginalized, will be our saving grace going forward.

Kristen Jeffers is founder and editor-in-chief of Kristen Jeffers Media.

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