I haven’t been to Atlanta yet, but after coming across For Keeps!, I may be planning a visit soon! This quaint, little store located a few blocks from The Martin Luther King Jr Church, may seem unassuming from a distance, but it holds quite some significance.
image via new york times
Rosa Duffy, the 29 year-old artist and owner of For Keeps!, has run this store for rare and classic black books since 2018 and hopes to maintain it with enough effort and diligence so it can eventually become a neighborhood treasure. But regardless of what its future may look like, Duffy hopes to maintain the book store’s reputation as a rare place in her hometown that honors and preserves black history.
image via wabe 90.1 fm
Her picturesque store harbors not only hard-to-find and classic books by African and African American literary legends like Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Ralph Ellison, Octavia Butler and others, but also carries album covers, unique artifacts and even copies of the iconic black magazine, Jet. Some of the items here are from her personal collection, many of which were swiped from her family members, probably while they weren’t looking.
The aspect of opening a space dedicated solely to rare black books came to Duffy while she was a student at the New School in New York. As an avid dweller of the city’s bookstores, like Mercer Street Books and Records, the Strand, the Alabaster Bookshop and East Village Books, she eventually gathered up the courage to open her own sanctuary.
image via librarything
Duffy’s infectious enthusiasm about books is extremely admirable. Finding a rare book by one of her favorite artists, Carrie Mae Weems, made her ecstatic, as did a copy of Ceasar D. Coleman’s Beyond Blackness to Destiny, which was published in 1969.
She admits that initially there were concerns that mixing passion with business may cause issues, but has been pleasantly surprised because so far, it’s been fantastic! And when asked, why Atlanta, Duffy quickly replied, “Atlanta was the only place to do it. It’s home and I wanted it to represent the vastness of blackness and allow people to read about their history in a welcoming space.” — which is exactly why For Keeps! is for keeps!
Featured image via the Atlantic Voice
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