Chicago opened up Semicolon Book Sotre in July of 2019. The Book store is the only Female empowerd Black owned book store int the city since the closing of the Afrocentric Bookstore in 2008 and APS Books & More Bookstore, which closed in June of 2019 after four years of operation.
Semicolon Book Store is owned by DL Mullen, an author, and editor with a Ph.D. in literary theory. According to TN, Her original vision was to create a multifaceted literary space that would include a library, co-working space, and membership-open club, but complicated construction foiled the project and she decided to simplify it into a bookstore instead.
When asked how she came up with the name Semicolon, she stated “It represents the point in a sentence where it could stop, but the author decides to proceed.” In terms of realizing her dream of owning a bookstore, Mullen said, “It means everything to me. To be able to create something that I love, as a black woman, that other black women and people can love just as much, is a huge deal.”
The book store also includes a community space and art gallery for Chicago’s thriving street art scene. The store is gorgeously designed with floor to ceiling shelves. The north wall has special decor of murals painted by street artist Ahmad Lee which depicts Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat, two of Mullen’s favorite artists. Semicolon Book Store will even include a rotating museum downstairs to feature local artists’ work.
Several of Lee’s pop art paintings are currently hanging on the walls. Mullen hopes to support the local literary community with an Espresso Book Machine that can print up to 450 pages in minutes. The book store is located at 515 n.Halsted St Chicago Illinois.