After undergoing a political transformation in Attica Prison, Martin Sostre knew he had work to do when he got out. So in 1964, he opened the Afro-Asian Book Shop in Buffalo, NY. He enjoyed mentoring Black youth and let them read radical literature for free.
But little did he know, his new bookstore would land him with a 30-year prison sentence! Why?
A detective came by. Selling radical books “can get you in trouble,” he threatened – but Sostre kept the store open. In the spring, firefighters broke in and doused his books with water! Sostre replaced them.
At his hearing, Sostre called out the anti-Blackness of the bail system. His bail was $50,000 because police said he was rich from “selling drugs.” But when Judge Jacob Latona denied the obvious set up, Sostre had had enough.