RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Victoria Scott-Miller still remembers the moment her two sons came to her four years ago. She said, “Our eldest, Langston, wanted to write a comic book.”
Scott-Miller said her boys, Langston and Emerson, were three and nine years old at the time. The family went out to Barnes & Noble to find stories that she hoped would represent the boys and the narratives that they wanted to create.
“We thought it was going to be an easy in and out, however, it took us about four hours to find about five books,” said Scott-Miller. She added, “They walked out discouraged and my husband and I walked out empowered and we said that we would do better.”
With $200, Scott-Miller and her husband, Duane Miller, said they started a bookstore.
The family began searching for books online and said, “Our criteria was to find black authors, illustrators and stories that weren’t based in trauma.” They sold the books from the trunk of their car and eventually began doing mobile pop-ups throughout the Triangle.
“CAM Raleigh, Duke Gardens, the Durham Hotel, always, churches, festivals… you name it—we were there,” said Scott-Miller.
The Raleigh mother said the Liberation Station Bookstore took off from there and eventually carried her to finding a permanent location in downtown Raleigh. Scott-Miller said she initially wanted to be an advocate for her two boys and fulfill their needs, but she didn’t realize she was also fulfilling a need in her own community.
Walking through the brick-and-mortar location on Fayetteville Street, Scott-Miller said, “This was not a choice that we decided, this was community-led and community-centered. It was time for our work to materialize and that was going to mean planting ourselves somewhere.”
Scott-Miller said she felt inspired by the neighboring black-owned businesses around her.
The mother said her two sons are now seven and 12 years old. She believes what they’re doing has made them both more confident.
“When a child is able to learn the value of themselves through reading, we all benefit from that because they are going to go out into the world and society confident with their contribution—and we get the opportunity to await it,” Scott-Miller said.
Scott-Miller said she and her husband hope to work with educators, pay close attention to legislation, and add books that have been removed from curriculum and libraries. She said every book that is put on the shelf is read by the family.
“Raleigh deserves this, Raleigh deserves a black-owned children’s bookstore that is family-led, that is centering black families and children,” said Scott-Miller.
The family has created an online crowdfunding campaign to help with costs and to support the business’s grand opening set for Juneteenth weekend. The bookstore is located at 208 Fayetteville Street, Suite 201 and is expected to open June 17 at 11a.m.