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Source: 106.7 WTLC / iONEDigital

KOKOMO — The intersection of community in Kokomo can be found right on Main Street, where all three of DeAndra Beard’s businesses connect coffee, language, and literature.

In 2013, Beard opened three businesses, “Beyond Barcodes Books,” “Beyond Borders Language Learning Center,” and “Bind Cafe.” She hoped they would be the doorways to conversations and community her hometown needed.

In recent weeks, Beard has watched not just her community but her country protest over the police killings of Black Americans. Now, Beard and other Black bookstore owners across the nation have titles about race and racism flying off their shelves.

“These titles are just flying off the shelves,” Beard said “They’re on backorder. As they’re printing them, they’re shipping them, because that’s how backed up they are.”

Beard is one of few Black women who independently owns a bookstore in the Midwest — including ‘Brain Lair Bookstore’ in South Bend, Indiana, and ‘Semicolon Bookstore’ in Chicago, Illinois, to name a couple.

Beard opened not just any bookstore, however. The serial entrepreneur cultivated multiple businesses to meet at the intersection of literacy and communal compassion.

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