Down in Newark, right off Broad Street near Chapel Court, lies The Source of Knowledge, a family-owned bookstore founded by Dexter George over three decades ago.

Upon entering, you are greeted with a spacious and culturally decorated space that exudes warmth and welcome. The books within the store are primarily based around the history and culture of African Americans, however they also carry books on other cultures such as Hispanic and Indian, promoting a diverse and enriching reading environment.

“Representation is the most important thing,” said Patrice McKinney, co-owner of the store. “You should be able to come into a store and see your culture in that store. With African-American culture, it’s either misrepresented or there’s very little knowledge of it, as you walk through the store you see every children’s book has tan and brown faces that look like us. Hispanic, Indian, everything of culture is here.”

“No one can tell your history better than you.”

McKinney has worked at the bookstore for over 20 years. When asking what was her favorite thing about the store, she simply answered, “everything.”

She described the joy of seeing kids’ eyes “light up” or even adults when they come in and find a book they’ve “been trying to find for years.”

“The poetry, just everything,” she added.

When posing the same question to Masani Barnwell George, the owner’s wife, her initial response was:

“Besides getting to read whatever I want?”  

But, other than that, her favorite thing was getting books into the hands of “our children with people who look like them.”

Looking around the store you notice — after the beautiful African masks that decorate the walls — that the store carries multiple genres; adults to children, classics to fiction, religious to spiritual; histories, biographies and the list goes on. 

The store also hosts nights of poetry and an event called “Reading Feet,” where any child up to 18 years old can get $20 worth of children’s books for free. Not only that, but they make the event free to vendors.

“We know how vendors struggle during these times, especially since COVID,” McKinney added.

In addition to these events, George and McKinney host book signings at the store almost weekly. 

With the store doing so much we wondered about online books. With their current popularity, did they feel as though the store had been impacted with E-books available for purchase?

“Yes and no. It has slowed down some progress but other people are like, ‘I need this information in my hand, I need pages to turn.’ That’s how I am. I can’t read on computers or tablets, I want to turn the page myself, put a bookmark in there. I want to hold it.”

The Source of Knowledge is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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