Despite the recent explosion of new African-American storytellers on the scene, trying to find books by and about African-Americans can be a true test of one's investigative skill. In many bookstores, you may find that small corner marked “African-American,” with the works of a few well-known authors like Terry McMillan, but new, lesser-known writers are deemed unworthy of display. So, why hasn't someone capitalized on this growing market trend? Actually, someone has — for the past 43 years. Dr. Raye Richardson, the low-key owner of the Bay Area institution known as Marcus Books, understands that African literature is more than a footnote to American society — it is a direct artery for gauging the pulse of America. Her stores are a vast collection of African writings, some of which predate even early works of the Harlem Renaissance. Although teeming with books on politics, spiritual guidance, and cultural awareness, Marcus also carries an array of new authors and an unprecedented collection of African-American poetry, from the extraordinary Nikki Giovanni to the Colonial-period prodigy Phyllis Wheatley. There is an overwhelming sense of having discovered another world here — akin to unearthing the lost African libraries of Timbuktu.