Victoria Scott-Miller with a pop-up display from the Liberation Station Bookstore.
Victoria Scott-Miller with a pop-up display from the Liberation Station Bookstore.

This week, the so-called “anti-woke education” bill sponsored by state lawmakers in February is winding its way through the General Assembly. The GOP-sponsored legislation, which would prohibit accurately teaching the Black experience in the United States, took shape at the state legislative complex in downtown Raleigh. 

Also, this week: Victoria Scott-Miller, a children’s book author and owner of nationally recognized pop-up the Liberation Station Bookstore, announced the launch of a fundraising campaign to support the early summer opening of a permanent, brick-and-mortar bookstore for Black children, located at 208 Fayetteville Street in the capital city’s downtown district.

The bookstore may, in a small way, help to counter aspects of the legislation, as well as book bans that have taken root among conservative educational groups.

Scott-Miller is the author of The Museum Lives In Me, a children’s book series that is in every public elementary school across the state. In 2021, she was the youngest and first Black woman to be inducted into the Wake County Public Schools Hall of Fame. She has been running the Liberation Station Bookstore pop-ups since 2019.

Scott-Miller is hoping for a “grand opening celebration on June 17, during Raleigh’s Juneteenth festivities,” according to a press release on Tuesday. “The bookstore will join a cluster of Black-owned businesses near Raleigh’s historic Black Main Street,” the release adds.

Among the more than 1,000 book titles that will be housed in the bookstore’s modest, second-floor space of less than 400 square feet, will be an Advanced Placement African American Studies section. The section “will feature titles that have been banned from school curriculums or have been recommended by Black AP African American Studies educators throughout the country,” according to the press release. 

Victoria Scott-Miller and her husband, Duane Miller, and sons, Emerson and Langston. Credit: Photo by Mick Schulte

Banned books slated to appear on Liberation Station’s bookshelves include James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain, along with Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Beloved. The book’s four curated sections will also feature space dedicated to pairings of adult titles with children’s books to foster intergenerational conversations,” according to the release. The bookstore’s two other planned curated sections are “The Diaspora Wall,” with literary works that follow the voyage of a “Transatlantic Map” while highlighting  Sierra Leone, Angola, Brazil, and the West Indies.

Meanwhile, the “America” section will feature “books that reflect the vastness of Black childhood from birth to 18 years old.” The store also plans to emphasize books written by Black authors and books published by Black-owned publishers.

Scott-Miller notes in the release that the Black-owned, family-led independent bookstore was inspired when she and Langston, her oldest son, struggled “to find children’s books by Black authors or Black illustrators that featured characters of color.”

That experience prompted Scott-Miller, her husband Duane Miller, son Langston and younger son Emerson to spend $200 to buy 113 books by Black authors and illustrators—and thus, the Liberation Station was born.

The family has sought to create access to Black literature across educational deserts throughout North Carolina—an absence that may become all the more distressing with the GOP’s pending legislation—by selling books, at events across the state, that focus on Black knowledge and thought.

The family’s pop-up bookstore mission has attracted national attention from Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Oprah Magazine, and other national outlets.

Scott-Miller on Tuesday, launched a crowdfunding campaign via The Bulls of Durham, a nonprofit that connects small businesses in the Triangle. She wants to raise $20,000 to support the bookstore’s opening.  

“This is our love letter to the city of Raleigh,” Scott-Miller wrote in the release, continuing, “It’s time to plant ourselves. When I think about our work, I think about a tree. We’ve done all this work. We’ve had all this reach but it’s been from the top down. We haven’t been able to physically plant ourselves. Now we get to create a unique cultural hub that is a community-centered, community-driven space for self-discovery and the activation of our work.”

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