St.Louis Black Bookstore Seeks to Boost Black Youths Image of Self
Looks to Align with Teachers and Organizations to Increase Self -Esteem
Imagery shapes perception. It’s a fact Hollywood knows all too well. Since its inception, Hollywood has craftily used its writers to manage Black’s self-esteem and self-image. Their writers seem cautious, almost instructed, not to promote encouraging imagery of Black relationships nor accurate depictions of our history.
African-Americans grimace with each film made about ancient Black peoples that Hollywood deceptively casts as White. The game of controlling Black imagery is a game of controlling self-worth. It’s often our youth’s confidence that suffers the brunt of these attacks.
But a St.Louis bookstore seeks to correct this miseducation. Eye See Me African American Children’s Bookstore is a Black-Owned children’s bookstore located in University City, MO that sells ‘Educational Products That Promote Positive African American Images.’
Eye See Me African American Children’s Bookstore was founded by a couple wanting to share their positive experience and benefits, of using Black books to teach, with other parents. While homeschooling their children with relatable books the couple noticed a noticable boost in their children’s self-esteem.
Finding educational Black books was not easy, says the couple.
“We have four children,” says Jeffery Blair Sr, co-owner. “In raising them we found it very difficult finding educational books with good information and positive Black images and in them. We sought books that would give our children information they weren’t learning in public school, as well as books that were child-friendly.”
“We wanted our children to read lessons that contained stories about them and their history,” – Jeffrey Blair Sr.
Over time, the couple gathered a large selection of hard-to-find educational books and connections to book publishers. Their numerous connections alone makes store a great resource for teachers seeking more diversity in education.
“We homeschooled our children for about 7 years. In homeschooling, it was very hard to find books with images that looked like daddy, mommy and themselves,” adds co-owner, Pamela Blair. “It was also difficult to find books on our history prior to slavery. That’s when the creative side of us took over,” says Mrs. Blair.
The couple eventually began authoring their own line of books and games for their children, products they now sell in-store.
“I started writing. Then we started doing the posters,” says Mrs. Blair. “We have posters on Black scientists, adventures, and historical facts we’ve never even heard but learned as a result of own research,” says Blair.
“Children need to know that a lot of the amazing things that they see today were actually invented by us.” – Pamela Blair
” These facts are important to know, by all children, not just our own.”
Jeffrey and Pamela Blair are excited at the response from patrons and educators who have come into their store. They look forward to building relationships with teachers, community, and organizations and have created special fundraising packages, games, fairs, and programs to help solidify a bond between Eye See Me African American Children’s Bookstore and educational institutions.