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Eso Won Books In South LA Will Close Its Doors

A Black man with grey hair stands in front of a display table in a bookstore, holding a copy of a book featuring President Barack Obama on the cover. The man is dressed in a light blue shirt, khakis and a blue surgical face mask. Walls of books are behind him.
James Fugate, co-owner of Eso Won Books, talks with a customer on Nov. 24, 2020.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Eso Won Books in Leimert Park will close its doors at the end of the year, according to co-owner James Fugate.

A neighborhood institution for more than three decades, Eso Won sells independently published books that highlight Black authors and works from the African diaspora.

Former South Los Angeles Councilmember Jan Perry said she can't imagine another store having the same impact.

"Anything about Africa or African Americans or related, that is the go-to place in the city," she said. "They were devoted to the cause of educating people, and making sure that people had the broadest selection and choices of information."

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Over the past several years, the store has hosted readings, events and interviews with President Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Common and other luminaries.

Publisher's Weekly reports that Fugate and co-owner Tom Hamilton are the sole staffers and they declined to renew their lease.

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