HBCU alumna Nia-Tayler Clark has experienced the power of community.
The journey started for her after working several part-time jobs, using her teacher’s salary, and relying heavily on faith for BLACKLIT to blossom into a storefront that became the first Black-owned bookstore in Dallas, Texas.
Having her own bookstore was a dream come true for Clark, but it all came to halt suddenly.
Before BLACKLIT had a chance to welcome customers, the founder shared a saddening update on Jan. 22. Clark was given 10 days to raise $27,000 or she would face eviction. What’s more, the locks were changed.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be making this post, but here we are,” Clark wrote on Instagram. “After securing the building for the BLACKLIT Bookstore but not being able to open to the public for 4 months, we have fallen behind on bills and have been fighting to keep our head above water for the past few months. Our landlord has presented us with a notice to vacate and as of just a few hours ago….has changed the locks. Meaning, we just lost everything.”
Although the odds were stacked against her, Clark was fortunate to have the saving grace of a supportive online community. With the help of TikTok spreading the word, on Jan. 24, she announced that she was able to raise $20,000 in two days.
“Long story short: I pick up my keys tomorrow! And, they gave me 10 days to raise the $7,000,” Clark shared in an update.
@_iamblacklit Thank you all so much! From the bottom of my heart. The full update is on IG but I just wanted to let you all know that I am so so grateful. Long story short: I pick up my keys tomorrow! And, they gave me 10 days to raise the $7000. #blacklit #blackbooktok #blackbookstore #dfwthingstodo #dfwblackownedbusiness #christiantiktok #godcamethrough #ifundwomen ♬ MotIvaTiOn – .
The store has officially re-opened and as of this writing, Clark has raised a total of $31,256 for her online campaign.
“We are officially….BACK OPEN!!!!!!!!!! Thank you all so much. So so much. I’m still trying to put my gratitude into words but I wanted to at least make this post to show you all the power of community,” Clark wrote in an Instagram post.
Clark’s mission behind BLACKLIT is to increase literacy within Black communities and bolster Black authors.
The former English teacher conjured the idea in her one-bedroom apartment in 2019 when she learned one of her 10th-grade students wasn’t reading.
“The turning point for me was when I literally had a student tell me “I don’t read Ms. I’m Black.” It broke my heart; but, it also opened my eyes. It watered the seed. I was now officially on a mission to close the literacy gap and increase representation,” Clark shared on her website.