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We’re Raising A Fist For The Radical Hood Library, Noname’s Latest Literary Liberation Project

Last week, Noname opened the Radical Hood Library, a Black-led, Los Angeles-based literary liberation project that was created to service Black and brown people. The Radical Hood Library is stocked with books on various topics including Black resistance and imperialism — all available to the public for free. According to a tweet shared from the book club’s official account on September 3, the library will also offer music, free food and more.
The Radical Hood Library will also act as the headquarters of Noname Book Club, an online group she’s organized monthly since July 2019 to discuss Black radical texts. She launched the club after leading a mass library card registration to counteract corporate efforts to privatize access to books, like Amazon Day. Aimed toward cultivating a safe space for people of color to read books by people of color, the book club has since become a movement, one the Chicago-bred rapper called a “f**k you” during an interview with Trevor Noah that year. 
"[My mom] owned a bookstore in Chicago for 20 years. It was called Afrocentric Bookstore. That's how I grew up," she shared with Noah. "We're trying to incentivize people to shop locally. Yes, you can participate in the book club online, but we really encourage our readers to shop at these POC-owned bookstores that we have in our directory. It's a little bit of a f**k you to Amazon and kind of a f**k you to the FBI ... COINTELPRO and what they did to destroy Black bookstores."
Noname shared on Twitter that her favorite sections of the library are the “F**k The Police” section, which houses abolitionist texts, and the “Black Capitalism Won’t Save Us” section. A section titled “Young Homies Books” contains radical book offerings for kids. “More sections will be added as we grow,” Noname tweeted on Sunday. “This is just the beginning.”
As R29Unbothered has previously explored, books have been the center of educational efforts for Black folks for decades, especially in spaces like Black-owned bookstores and libraries. Black-led book clubs played a pivotal role in Black liberation as they commercially took off toward the end of the 20th century. Notably, Elizabeth McHenry’s Forgotten Readers, Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies highlights how Black literary communities act as safe spaces and activism centers, and have for centuries. And in many ways, Noname is keeping this legacy alive through her efforts in the Black literary community.
As some social media users have pointed out, libraries use many of the same methods to acquire books as bookstores do. “This means books that sell and circulate are the ones available, not necessarily the ones communities need most. That knowledge only comes from being in community,” one tweeter noted.
“This was in part why I wanted to build ours,” Noname responded in a quote retweet. “Books by Amilcar Cabral, George Jackson, Mumia, Sèkou Tourè and other Black revolutionaries/marxists are damn near impossible to find in state libraries. Their books are curated to service the largest demographic in the US... whites.”

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