Washington, D.C.’s Southeast Anacostia neighborhood is poised to get its first bookstore in over twenty years with the opening of MahoganyBooks later this month.
Founded by Derrick and Ramunda Young, the 500 sq. ft. bookstore will be located in the Anacostia Arts Center and will feature, the owners said, books “written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.”
Mahogany first opened in 2007 as an online-only store and subsequently began selling books at events around the Washington D.C. metro area. The partnership with the 9,300 sq. ft. arts center will root the bookstore in a historically African American neighborhood of the district, whose last bookstore, part of the small D.C.-based Pyramid Books chain, closed in the mid-1990s.
According to Derrick Young, the design of the bookstore and the partnership with the arts center will allow Mahogany to continue to focus on literary and cultural events. The bookstore space will be designed to hold smaller community discussions and readings, while the arts center’s auditorium will be used for larger events.
“It is important we create a rich, concerted space where readers and writers connect and discuss issues of yesterday and today that impact our culture and how we see ourselves,” said Young in the statement.
During its first year, the bookstore will also be host to Duende District, a D.C.-based pop-up bookstore whose mission—to be run for and by people of color—aligns closely with that of MahoganyBooks. “I love that it's an African-American/Latinx bookstore collaboration,” says Duende owner Angela Maria Spring. “These kinds of partnerships are what will make our communities even stronger.”
The bookstore is slated to open on November 24 and a formal grand opening will be celebrated in February during Black History Month.