Marcus Bookstore Mural: The Answer Is In Us

This piece is one specific part of the larger mural that is on Marcus Bookstore. Marcus Bookstore is the nation’s oldest Black bookstore, it was originally named Success Bookstore when the owners realized the need for a Black bookstore and was initially only in San Francisco, The store was renamed after 30 years of business after co owners read Marcus Garvey’s “Philosophy and Opinions” . They also soon opened another store location in Oakland. Marcus Bookstore is not only a bookstore but a community meeting place. Over the years it has been a place for Black organizing and collaborative education. Surrounding Marcus bookstore are multiple different murals that have been created to illustrate Black history while also emphasizing the current need for change. This particular piece shared is an image that is an open book and on one side there is a brick wall on the other side of which appears to be white faces that all blend into each other. The other side of the book has the continent of Africa covered in red, black and green and filled with the words Knowledge, Dignity, Respect, Honor and Seek Self. This piece seems to be comparing the two histories, the history that seems to so often be hidden: the history of Africa long before the colonization and the history which is taught in schools of Africa in which Egypt and a place which enslaved people were stolen from. The words “The answer is in us the world changes when we do” are in a corner. This piece reminds viewers of how necessary it is to find their own place and understanding of how they may be able to effect change in the world.

Street Address:

3900 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland, CA 94609

Official Website:

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“Marcus Bookstore Mural: The Answer Is In Us,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed September 23, 2018,

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