Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: Black Owned — Jackson

Introducing Black Owned, a film series exploring the Black entrepreneurial spirit and its essential contribution to the American economy through the perspectives of business owners.

In the first of the series, we hear from Maati, owner of Louise Marshall’s Music & Bookstore in Jackson, Mississippi, one of the oldest bookstores in the United States.

Almost 40 percent of the population in Mississippi is African American. That’s more than any other state in the nation. But black people own less than 18 percent of the state’s economy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. MPB’s Ashley Norwood reports on why African Americans own significantly fewer businesses and what some black business owners have to say about it.

Chimes dangling from the door of Louise Marshall’s Music and Bookstore alert the staff whenever a customer has arrived. The Christian bookstore opened in the 1940’s in the historic Farish Street District in Jackson. It is believed to be the nation’s oldest operating bookstore owned by a black person.

Maati Jone Primm is the third generation owner and operator of the bookstore, which is named after her grandmother. She says they’ve operated on Farish Street for their entire 80 year history. (Source: MPB Online)

Running time: 3 minutes

Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.

The decor in the historic Louise Marshall’s is rustic and informal. Dozens of computer printed and photocopied images adorn the walls with handwritten captions. The photos are of Pan African pioneers, civil rights activists and black entertainers. Many of them are from Mississippi. (MPB Online)
Farish Street in Jackson, Mississippi– once referred to as the “black Mecca”– was booming and nationally known as a hub for black-owned businesses up until the 1970s. (MPB Online)
Maati Jone Primm, owner of Louise Marshall’s Music & Bookstore

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