One of America's Oldest Black-Owned Bookstores, Marcus Book Stores, Is Shut Down

One of America’s Oldest Black-Owned Bookstores, Marcus Book Stores, Is Shut Down

Marcus Bookstores (Photo by Chris Carlsson)

One of the oldest black-owned bookstores in the nation has been evicted from its longtime home in a historic San Francisco neighborhood.


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Julian Davis Is General Counsel for Marcus Books in Fillmore District

Julian Davis, a San Francisco attorney and magnum cum laude graduate of University of California Hastings College of the Law, is a community-based advocate. He ran a campaign for San Francisco Supervisor District 5, served as Board President of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, and was the recipient of the Bay Guardian Local Hero Award. He works as a management consultant and general counsel for non-profit organizations, start-ups, and small businesses. Currently he is the general counsel for Marcus Books in its effort to remain in the historic Jimbo’s Bop City Building.

Marcus Books, located in the Fillmore district of San Francisco, is the oldest black book store in the United States, but the store is in danger of moving from its historic location. A non-profit group based in the Western Addition, Westside Community Services, is willing to pay for more than half of the funds needed to buy back the building. The group, along with the San Francisco Community Land Trust, is turning to the community to help keep this important and culturally significant landmark open by raising a million dollars.
Support Keep It Lit & Save Marcus Books in San Francisco

The Keep it Lit & Save Marcus Books campaign allows you to join the fight to save the nation’s oldest Black bookstore. Marcus Books opened its doors 54 years ago on Fillmore Street in San Francisco’s historic jazz district.

A family owned business, Marcus Books is more than just a book store. It is a gathering place; it is a center for Black culture, but more importantly, Marcus Books is a community.

Today, Marcus Books in San Francisco is threatened with the prospect of moving out of the Bop City building. The Marcus Books community is waging a campaign to ensure that this does not happen, and you can help.

The Fillmore District building where Marcus Books has resided since 1981 was once home to the one of the most innovative Jazz clubs in the country, Bop City. The site was sold last year, and the new owners offered us, Marcus Bookstores family, an opportunity to buy the historic landmark.

So far, we’ve raised a little more than half of our full 2.6 Million dollar goal, but we need readers and lovers of literature like you to get us to the finish.

Don’t wait. Donate now to Keep It Lit & Save Marcus Books.

Our strategy is simple. We are asking 50,000 people in our global community to donate $20 to Keep it Lit & Save Marcus Books. We then want you to ask 10 people in your community of friends to give $20 too. You can of course donate more, and we hope you will. 

We believe that there is power in our community and that together we can raise the funds needed to keep our legacy of African American culture and literature alive in San Francisco.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Donate to our campaign

2. Use the links on this page to share this campaign with your social media network

3. Send an email to friends and networks

4. Ask 10 of your friends to give and share this page

You can also donate
Via Website:

In Person: 
@ Marcus Books 1712 Fillmore Street (between Post & Sutter)

Via Mail: 
Keep It Lit ℅ Marcus Books, 1712 Fillmore Street, SF, CA 94115

Via Phone: 
Keep It Lit ℅ Marcus Books 415.346-4222 with Credit Card

Together we can ensure that Marcus Books and African American Literature continue to thrive in the landmark Bop City Building.

Thank you and Ashe.
Karen Johnson

Funds raised through the Keep It Lit & Save Marcus Books campaign maybe used to purchase the current location or to start a Relocation Trust to ensure that the store remains a fixture in the Fillmore and San Francisco communities.

Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Our fiscal sponsor is the Carlton B. Goodlet Foundation - 1716 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Campaigning to Avoid Closure of Fillmore District’s Marcus Books

Julian Davis supports efforts to improve housing development and foster community growth within the Bay Area. Possessing a JD from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and knowledgeable in city planning, Julian Davis offers guidance as general counsel for Marcus Books.

Marcus Books is a locally owned African-American bookstore located in the Fillmore district of San Francisco. A historical and cultural icon of the community, it currently faces eviction. With support from San Francisco Community Land Trust and Westside Community Services, Marcus Books aims to raise $1 million before the end of February 2014 to contribute to the purchase of the Victorian building that houses the bookstore.

The Support Marcus Books Campaign involves a host of events, including book auctions, readings, and concerts, to raise funds. In addition, social media and Fundrise, a site that allows people to invest in the businesses around them, are being used to generate awareness and gain financial support.


Rappin 4-Tay - I’ll Be Around

FillmoreNOLA! 3rd Annual Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore

Celebrate Mardi Gras in the Fillmore District! Join the Fillmore St. restaurants and clubs for live music at ten venues, along with free Mardi Gras beads and signature cocktails, wines, beer and bites. Party along with stilt walkers, jugglers and face painters around the Fillmore Center Plaza. A $5 Custom Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore wristband lets you in on exclusive discounts to the participating venues, 1300 on Fillmore, Rasselas Jazz Club, Sheba Piano Lounge, Yoshi’s, Gussies Chicken and Waffles, Fat Angel Food & Libations, Bruno’s Pizzeria and The Social Study. 5 pm-12 am. Fillmore St. from Geary to Eddy. Check in at the Jazz Heritage Center located at 1320 Fillmore (next door to Yoshis).

Purchase wristband on Evenbrite:

or purchase at the door! A portion of proceeds benefit the Jazz Heritage Center.