As Langston, now 9, said in a recent interview, he was looking for books that depicted “how brilliant, handsome, smart and how amazing we [Black boys] are. … In the picture quality, I’m not looking for things that show us with big lips, big bodies, big noses. I’m looking for things that actually represent us, show who we actually are. I’m a brilliant, handsome, intelligent Black boy, just like my brother.” For good measure, he repeated, “And handsome.”
His 4-year-old brother, Emerson — named for the transcendentalist writer, just as Langston was named for the Harlem Renaissance poet — chattered in the background.
Immediately after that disappointing shopping trip, Scott-Miller and her husband, Duane Miller, brainstormed how to create a different kind of bookstore, one where Black families wouldn’t have to search so hard to find books where Black children were the heroes of the stories.
They didn’t have money for a brick-and-mortar store, no investors and, Scott-Miller said: “No one is going to stand behind the concept. So it’s something we’re going to have to do from the trunk of our car.” With the family coffers running low and rent worries, the couple took their last $250 and bought a small stash of discounted books that they sold at a profit.
Langston’s ambitions, and the need they exposed, had inspired a family business.
Liberation Station, the independent pop-up bookstore the couple founded a year ago, sells only children’s literature in which Black children are the main characters.