Hakim’s Bookstore

Awarded a Pennsylvania Historical Marker, December 2022

Dedication Ceremony: Saturday, August 12, 2023 at 11am. 210 S. 52nd Street, West Philadelphia

Circa 1970’s (Image from Hakim’s Bookstore Website)


The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission announced in December 2022 that the application filed by the University City Historical Society for Hakim’s Bookstore was successful! UCHS partnered with the Enterprise Center who suggested Hakim’s Bookstore as the ideal focus of our efforts for a state historical marker.

Hakim’s Bookstore is the oldest surviving black-owned bookstore in the Commonwealth and perhaps on the east coast. Founded in 1959 by Dawud Hakim, the bookstore has been on S. 52nd Street for 60 years providing books, education, and the space for black learning and cultural exchange. More than a book shop, Hakim’s has been ground zero for Philadelphians to gain knowledge, grow a community, and find items that celebrate the beauty and diversity of the African diaspora.

As a place that has unapologetically upheld black learning and community, Hakim’s has been on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement. Dawud Hakim was connected to national civil rights leaders like Dick Gregory and local leaders such as Mumia Abu-Jamal. Not coincidentally, Hakim’s Bookstore was the target of J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO surveillance program that targeted places of black identity out of unfounded fears of criminality and civil unrest.

Hakim’s Bookstore has survived social unrest, economic ups and downs, and building emergencies to continue to serve the community. Today, Dawud Hakim’s legacy is carried on by his daughters and their dedicated staff. Owner Yvonne Blake says her father would be proud of this recognition by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


UCHS is fundraising to defray the costs associated with installing the marker. We welcome your contributions.


The PA historical marker dedication ceremony for Hakim’s Bookstore at 210 S. 52nd Street will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2023 at 11am

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