Kindred Thoughts Bookstore Engages Reading For The Soul Featuring African-American Literature

Kindred Thoughts

is the only one of its kind in Bridgeport, an independent bookstore focused on African-American literature and cultural events “that support our community’s interests and promote both academic and professional growth and success.”

Located in Downtown’s Arcade Mall, 1001 Main Street, Kindred Thoughts is 100 percent Black owned, 50 percent woman and veteran owned, respectively.

Owners Karen Smith and Derek Tompkins were recently featured in a good news segment by CBS Sunday Morning. See video clip above.

Upcoming events include:
Story Time with Ms. Michelle: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
01/28/2023 – 11:00am to 12:00pm

Reading the Classics: Beloved, Toni Morrison
02/18/2023 – 6:00pm to 7:30pm



  1. “State’s largest City without a hotel. a movie theater, or a book store?” was a comment from a friend heard about a month ago.
    Then I discovered Kindred Thoughts in the Arcade, with all the attributes of a small independent book shop. They have ordered several books for me since then which I have shared as gifts to friends, WAGING A GOOD WAR: A military history of the Civil Rights Movement 1954-1968. Strategic advice and tactical commentary about how voting was secured in Southern states in that time period. Awaiting the weighty package covering the publication of the JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE with an intro by Ari Melber, MSNBC commentator.
    Good people. Happy to have a book conversation. Give them a try. Black History Month coming. Time will tell.

  2. John, Kindred Thoughts Bookstore is a specially store. It could be profitable in that aspect. You would have to assume its target audience is African Americans. A black own business gathering to African Americans would suggest that there’s a sense and segment of African American population that has disposable income to purchase a want, books, outside of their needs.

    But as for the overall comment, Port needs attractions for people to visit the city for a hotel to thrive. As for movie theaters and bookstores in general, like malls, technological advances have changed how people do things/business, to say the least.

    But please read your publication of the January 6 committee with an open mind and understanding that people/government/writers write whatever they want and generally with a purpose to benefit them/sides/ or position.

    I mean, I don’t care what the 911 commission/news media said/wrote. No plane hit the pentagon. It is physically inconceivable that a plane that big dived down, hitting the side of a building that size. The plane was almost as tall as the building. Yet it hit the lower side of the building and not crashed down on top of it. Please. But that’s the story, no?

    Just look at the aftermath pictures of it. Clearly, it was blown outward from the inside. Not to mention no wing span damage to the facade of the building whatsoever or the fact the plane hit the side of the building so low that it would have to be practically skidding along the ground, yet no damage to the grown outside of the building. JS

    As much as I like would like to think it was the great potato famine that killed hundreds of thousands, probably in the millions, of Irish, that’s in the history books. I can’t seem to dispel the notion that it was more of a genocide by starvation, by England. I don’t even want to get into Cromwell and their Irish servitudes.

  3. P.S. My guess is the Bible can be placed in that realm. Of course with a double-edged sword. Those who will see it as verbatim as the word of God/higher power, and will defend/deflect what they don’t discuss in open on when those who do their own cherry-picking to dispel it outright. The key word here is, cherry-pick 🙂

    To be fair, Elijah Muhammad, Muslim in general, also taught/teach Jesus wasn’t God either. I think Steve’s and Marcus’ people too. 🙂

    P.S John I know I harp on the white liberals, but nothing like this guy. 🤣

  4. RT,
    Happy New Year to you. Have you visited Kindred Thoughts, an independent book shop in the Arcade on Main Street. It has all the attributes of such shops which I like to visit and get to better know. It does offer the best selection of hardcover publications in this region, in my opinion, that may be of interest to people of color, young or old. But with James Joyce novel Ulysses and Prince Harry’s latest bio material looking out at me from a shelf, folks looking for their specific offerings will be pleased, whether young, or of older maturity.

    Strangely, how you got from Kindred Thoughts to your opinions about 9/11/01 Pentagon destruction I am still calculating. How about coffee and face to face conversation in 2023 as I have suggested in the past. What books are you reading these days? Which have you finished and can recommend? Time will tell.

  5. Likewise John.

    That specific store John in the Downtown Arcade Mall, No. However, in recent years. I have passed through it every time I strolled Port’s downtown area, Which is a handful of times a year, depending, on what free events are given. 🙂 When they had music on Thursdays, on the green, more often, though it stopped for a farmer’s market. But I never went to any store in Arcade Mall. As well as visiting/strolling the Seaside.

    Though I always thought that was a cool place. I use to go there/hang out with my boy when we were kids. In the winter we would still glove At Woolworths. As well as in and Hi HO 🙂

    That being said, it’s hot as F-K is in there in the summer, They need some ventilation/air circulation. Kinda surfing in the summer.

    Though like many things that go on in the Port. The efforts can be half-hearted. When they said it was going to be remodeled I was expecting a much more modern and cool look. The Green and Yellow color scheme is alright, I guess. Well, the green part is at least. But the archaic floor pattern is as humdrum and drab as it comes, depressing in a sense. Kinda sets the tone for the entire space though. I was shocked to see Kelvin’s Moe Burgers close. JS

  6. P.S. John, If they keep on recycling the same SHIT and you see me homeless sleeping on the street, a downtown bench on a stop at the Arcade Mall, you can buy me a cup of coffee, maybe a SUBWAY too. SMH.

    Believe me, it’s won’t the first time I found myself with a place either. Not even the 2nd. Depending on how you want to look at it, or 3rd, Jesus Christ people. 🙃

    As for Books, I just try Virgil Aeneid again, but I had to give it up, can’t seem to get through it, focus-wise. I do it with Dante’s Divine Comedy too.

    I like John Grisham, I mean I actually finish his books, Not that they are education. I do it more for the attention span/recall/focusing aspect of reading.

    Although, every time I do finish one of his books, I think I can step into a ring to advance classics of some kind. Haven’t gotten past Canto 10 in Divine Comedy and Chapter 4 in Aeneids, 🤣

    While I did get further in Homer’s Iliad than those I did finish his Odyssey, which seemed more remedial 🙂

    I dabbled in Greek/Roman mythology and Plato/Socrates.

    I currently dabbling in Will Durant’s The Story of Civilization series, and Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the World series.

    But to you more specifically my most reads were Grisham’s Cameo Island series.

    BTW, I also dabbled in the Far East spiritual writings. 🤣

  7. RT.
    Stop by Kindred Thoughts sometime soon. Introduce yourself to Michele and Derek. They also are Bridgeporters who see an opportunity, rather than a situation with drawbacks as you do. Overcome your distaste for stuffiness or color schemes. Have a conversation with how folks presently see their environment and why, if you have the time and interest.
    Why wait for that cup of coffee and an in person conversation for the future. I am a reader of John Grisham, too. Enjoyed Sooley and his latest from Biloxi. You have tried out other texts obviously. Where do you secure conversations on them these days? Why not call me today? Time will tell.

    1. Sure, someday, however, I would characterize my opinion of the Arcade Mall’s content of its character color scheme and lack of ventilation as distasteful in its remodeling efforts. Thought I wouldn’t have minded having that cup of coffee while stopping by that Cheese Cakeshop. I would have, looked delicious, but financial restraints prevented me.

      For shits and giggles.

      Speaking about confectionery pastries.🤣

      and conversations. 🙂

  8. John, last point. Before you characterize the content of my character on its ornament style and a person who sees situations as a drawback that needs to be overcome, how doesn’t

    To keep a lifelong story short. There’s a reason I always capitalize the word SIMPLE. That you might not understand.

    When my financial restraints were on a short leash. I use to follow the band, Simple Jim. One night my boy and I when to Toad’s Place in New Haven to see them. When I went up to pay the cover charge to get in the bouncer told me he was not going to let me in unless I write down the band’s name on the clipboard.

    After a “Conversation,” I grabble the clipboard and pen and asked my boy how to spell SIMPLE. Keep in mind I was in my late 20s, embarrassed, and angry as it was my financial restraints and homelessness really didn’t kick in until I tried to make efforts to overcome my ILLITERACY, coupled with an extreme learning disability. It is not as easy as just picking up a book and reading/retaining its contents.

    Like Aenieds and Divine Comedy, I had given up my efforts many times. However, after one of several knee surgeries, I determined it’s the only way (work-wise/support-wise)

    In my efforts to overcome it, homeless as I was already. To stay the course, I had to sleep in my car, and search/enter a home shelter. Though very very brief the process is constant and still without a home. I continued. Though it made it even more difficult to focus.

    Just enough stuff to make it not look Evil-ish. I mean who wants to see themselves on team Evil? They want to view themselves as helping others when they are down, no? Or Should I say team?

    As I always said, not really on the side, and no side wants to view themself as doing the Devil’s bidding, though it helps. I mean QB’s can’t get mad at the opposing team for trying to sack him, but if his side lets them run through. Questions there will be a. ~Yoda-ish 🙂 On some level.

    Funny thing about Starwars. Rebel Alliance was never to defeat the Empire, but to bring balance as the universe game plays out. JS


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