New Beacon Books was established in 1966 by Trinidadian, #John La Rose, and his partner, Sarah White. The store is now in its 51st year. Located in Finsbury Park, New Beacon Books had been fighting to raise money for repairs to its roof and to create a website in order to bring the store and all of the cultural and historical information that it provides to a wider audience.

The bookshop became its own publishing house and gained attention for being very involved in activism in the UK. In an interview with the Evening Standard, Vanessa La Rose, wife of the grandson of the bookshop owner, described the bookshop as "a catalyst for many group formations, like the Caribbean Artist Movement and the #Black Parents Movement back then.

Advertisements
Advertisements

We were instrumental in protesting about the New Cross Fire in 1981 which generated support of over 20,000 people protesting peacefully."

The problem and the solution

Blasting news was told that "It was a lack of was a lack of awareness. John La Rose's grandson, Renaldo La Rose and his wife, Vanessa La Rose, started a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account for the shop to expose it to a new generation and so far the response has been amazing, so it's not that people aren't interested."

"We knew there would be challenges. Firstly, any news businesses face challenges let alone a bookshop and a specialist black bookshop at that. But we have lasted until this point where technology has had a huge effect on our business and we are catching up."

Champion support

The idea to utilise #Social media platforms came from Vanessa La Rose and "it worked.

Advertisements

It showed that the community does care and can come together when called upon. It's been amazing." The GoFund me page that was created to help pool the donations together and the support that the shop received was tremendous as the £10,000 target was not only reached, but exceeded. The donations poured in and the call for help reached high places and hundreds of people. Blasting news was told just how high and wide the message spread.

"Anthony Joshua had our GoFund me campaign up on his Instagram. It's wonderful when well-known people get behind a campaign and show support. Other well known people that have supported us are rapper Ty, Rodney P, Akala, Wretch 32, comedian Kojo and ex QPR and Reading footballer, Mikele Leigertwood. Jeremy Corbyn, MP, came and bought some books again recently. A huge thank you to everybody that made a donation. It does help, probably more than they know!"

"Our existence is more than purely that of a bookshop. It's a space for people to come and speak unapologetically." In a video on the Evening Standard the director of the store, Janice Durham, put it quite simply: "Lets make black books beautiful again. We have to pass down our heritage." The campaign was very successful and the store, open Wednesdays to Saturdays 1.30-6pm, is currently undergoing what they have described as a 'face-lift' thanks to the money raised.