Black-owned bookstore Liberation Station welcomes brick and mortar pop-up at NC Museum of Art

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh-based author Victoria Scott-Miller and her family started their online bookstore Liberation Station back in 2019, inspired by her sons' wish to see more books featuring characters that looked like them and experienced life the way they do.

Since then, they have begun partnering with businesses in the Raleigh-Durham area to establish Black Lit Libraries, an extension of their store intended to provide "safe reading spaces for children of color."

"We understand the power of a narrative; we understand the power of community. We understand that there are a lot of stories that aren't represented, so we wanted to make sure there was an over-representation of marginalized communities," Scott-Miller said.

The newest addition is a pop-up at the North Carolina Museum of Art, an organization that Scott-Miller has collaborated with in the past to offer 'virtual storytime' readings of books and literature for children and their families.

"When I think about Black History Month, I actually think about Black healing, I think about Black wellness, I think about Black hope, I think about Black future. Those are the types of things that these stories and these narratives are able to activate. So when we think about history, we also have to think about the fact that the people that created history were not exhausted. We have to think about how we make those contributions begin with resting, taking a pause and learning more about ourselves."

In honor of Black History Month, the family has shut down their online store through all of February in order to rest as a family. Scott-Miller said her mission during this month is also to "encourage other people to shop around, shop at those other 154 (black-owned) bookstores in the country. Because when they win, we win as well. I think what we have to understand is that with flow of reciprocity, there's enough for all of us."

"There's also a protection of our story, and the only way that you're able to do that is by writing your own."

Scott-Miller does just that in her children's book "The Museum Lives in Me!," which becomes available for purchase May 21st of this year. Jermaine "JP" Powell, the book's illustrator, said he feels a personal connection with many of the characters. With the storyline of the book following a diverse group of school children, led by their teacher, as they explore the NC Museum of Art, Powell explains that often times people avoid certain spaces "because they feel like they're not made for them," but that "this space, this museum, it's ours to share and to help grow it."

"We are, I think, a navigational tool. If you look at our bookstore, it's equivalent to a GPS. To help you find what you have lost, to help you to return to yourself. That is what our bookstore aims to do."

When asked what she thought the main takeaway from her family's story and mission should be, the author replied "Find your own rhythm and stay on beat."
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