One evening, in cool, pleasant autumn air—en route to ROCKMIL, a salon on the backside of Harlem’s Sugar Hill—Sister’s Uptown Bookstore presented itself.
Its storefront light backlit the early evening gatherers outside, some staring down trays of fried chicken and pork ribs displayed in the window of the takeout next door.
Inside were folks sitting by the entrance reading, others gathered near the back in a manner of discussion that drew me closer, wanting to hear what was going on, to pick up some clues.
Owner Kori Wilson worked at her overseer’s lectern, near the middle.
Searched for Ntozake Shange in the stack of shelves holding dozens and dozens of other poets—that midst thousands of other writers. I’ve not seen many shops like this one, none within miles of my Upper West Side home.
The thing is, Ms Wilson offers so many authors of the African diaspora that I was alarmed to wonder why I did not think the number would be so great.
This eye-opening trove of books is a comforting way to look more deeply into that question but you’re never going to stumble across it unless you make a point of visiting the neighborhood to discover this and what else is going on.
Here, midst readings—even drum circles— the Wilson sisters pledge to “…provide an educational, emotional, spiritual and loving environment for our diverse community” which they have done for the past fifteen years.
This is what In The Heights is about.