Narratively

 

Kurt Thometz’s Little Black Bookshop

How a white kid from rural Minnesota who was raised to be racist grew up to become one of the country’s foremost collectors of black literature.

By | January 1, 2014

Kurt Thometz, a private librarian to the ultra-rich and a rare book collector with an affinity for African literature, surrounds himself with more than 15,000 obsessively organized books in an 1891 brownstone on West 160th Street in Upper Manhattan. Part-bookstore, part-bed and breakfast and private library, Thometz’s home is situated in a neighborhood steeped in African American history, from the Sugar Hill row houses where W.E.B. Du Bois and Duke Ellington lived, to the Edgecombe Avenue buildings that Count Basie and Paul Robeson once called home. The bookstore, Jumel Terrace Books, which is located in the brownstone’s basement, is where Thometz sells his Afrocentric selections, ranging from modern histories of tango and samba to Nigerian market literature that he’s compiled into a collection called “Life Turns Man Up and Down: High Life, Useful Advice, and Mad English.”

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These 4 Women Are Taking on a Politician Near You

The coalminer’s daughter. The bartender. The police brutality activist. The grieving mother. Each looked at the man representing her in Congress and said, “I can do better.”

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The Collector of Time

As Mark McKinley puts it, “no collector ever says, ‘I’ve gone too far.'” After 27 years and an official Guinness World Record, he stands by that statement.

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The Saviors of Saffron

Three young Spaniards are reviving the farming tradition that flourished in their grandparents' generation.

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An Aging Mother’s Animated Love Letter to Her Autistic Son

“Who would look after him if I wasn’t here?” and other questions this mom asks herself every day.

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Courvosier Cox Knows He’s a Superstar

Meet a teenage actor-singer-comedian with absolutely no doubt that his tumultuous adolescence will soon give way to Hollywood fame.

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A 360° View of India’s Gravity-Defying Pole Wrestlers

Get up close and personal with the athletes of the reemerging ancient pastime of mallakamb, in Narratively’s first 360 film.

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This Breathtaking Greek Fireworks Battle Puts Your July 4th to Shame

Once a year, residents of this mountainous island gather at two churches on opposite ends of town and launch 100,000 handmade rockets — directly at each other.

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Penny’s Ex-Husband Realized She’s a Woman. But They’re Still Best Friends.

When Dee came out as a transgender, it meant the end of her marriage to Penny. And that’s when the empowering journey for both women truly began.

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The Nomadic People Caught in the Crosshairs of China’s Economic Boom

As Chinese investment turns this mineral-rich region into a cash cow, does the Southern Mongolian culture have any hope of survival? A few families are willing to fight for it.

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