DL Mullen Just Opened Chicago’s Only Bookstore Currently Owned by a Black Woman


July 15, 2019

Last week DL Mullen opened Chicago’s only bookstore currently owned by a Black woman.

“Semicolon” is a hip bookstore that also serves as an art gallery and space for the community. The store opened its doors last Tuesday with a party and mural unveiling, which was designed by street artist, Ahmad Lee. 


“It means everything to me. To be able to create something that I love, as a Black woman, that other Black women and people can love just as much is a huge deal,” Mullen said in an interview with Chicago Magazine. “You don’t get into bookselling looking for money; it’s really hard to build up your career to actually open a bookstore. I feel grateful that I’ve been able to do that.”

Mullen is an author and editor and holds a PhD in Literary Theory.


The first Black woman to open a bookstore in Chicago was Desiree Sanders, whom operated Afrocentric Bookstore for almost twenty years and closed in 2008.  Sanders blazed a trail for Mullen and Mrs. Toneal M. Jackson who launched and ran APS Books & More in Chicago from 2015 through June 2019. 

Semicolon is located at 515 North Halsted Street and is open each week from Tuesday through Saturday.


Congratulations DL!

Photo credit: DS Shin

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