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Brownstone Books

About this listing

African-American focused bookstore offering author readings/lectures, special events, and book clubs for adults and children

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Bedford- Stuyvesant
Commercial, Great Places to Shop, African/ American, Shopping

Place Matters Profile

When it opened in 2000, Brownstone Books was the first bookstore in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in over 30 years. Created in a conscious effort to bring people in the community together, the bookstore is now a vibrant local center.

Brownstone Books is owned and operated by Crystal and Walston Bobb-Semple, who returned to Bedford-Stuyvesant from San Francisco to create a business that would contribute to their local community. Aided by a grant from the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the Bobb-Semple's designed their store to showcase local talent and encourage community participation.

Their large well-lighted store, which replaced a rundown laundromat, carries authors, titles, and topics reflecting the interests of local African American, Caribbean and African residents, and sells the crafts of local artisans. Up-and-coming and well-established authors from the African Diaspora such as Nikki Giovanni and former Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Paule Marshall, frequently hold readings and book signings at the store. All...

Read More


Bob-Semple, Crystal. Interviewed by Jennifer Scott. 2003.

Houze, David. "Bookstore A Welcome Addition to Bed-Stuy Neighborhood." Blackstar, November 16, 2000.

New York Amsterdam News. "Black-owned Bookstore Opens in Bed-Stuy." November 16, 2000.

On The Web

Brownstone Books


Anonymous Nominator

Nominated through the Central Brooklyn Community Focus Project.

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