One Black woman is celebrating Octavia Butler in the most iconic way.
According to The Guardian, the literary icon’s legacy will continue in her hometown of Pasadena, CA, thanks to Nikki High, the bookstore owner opening the first-of-its-kind store in the area.
From A Dream To Fruition
“I had been thinking about [this bookstore] for about 10 years, but not in a way where I was ready to leave my job and do it,” High said.
Previously, she served in a communications role at Trader Joe’s for 15 years.
After her grandmother passed away, it sparked High to visit the motherland. There, she soon discovered the true value of commitment and returned to the states with a vision in mind — curating a safe space to honor Black literary icons past and present.
“I was feeling all the good energy. ‘Yes I could do this,’” High said. “So when I came home, I just started looking at different retail spaces.”
Bringing Octavia’s Bookshelf To Life
Despite her initial decision to rely on her savings and an additional loan to launch Octavia’s Bookshelf, High’s plans quickly elevated with help from a post she shared on Twitter.
When she mentioned her efforts to launch the store, it went viral online with about 5.1 million views and 10,000 retweets, and a GoFundMe, which raised $22,000.
For High, the donations offered her a space to truly create the bookstore of her dreams.
“I wanted [my bookstore] to be completely independent so that I would not have to compromise my values,” High continued.
Furthermore, she wanted to uphold Butler’s legacy with the edifice and pay homage to other Black women-owned bookstores and authors, including notable authors such as Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison.
High also noted the books and non-book items are sourced from mainly independent BIPOC-owned businesses that are “not on Amazon.”