MILWAUKEE - There are just a handful of Black-owned bookstores in Wisconsin. One of them is Darick Books on Milwaukee's north side.
The owner has written more than 80 books and is not slowing down, weaving personal experiences to uplift and teach.
"When people come into Darick Books I want them to see an expansion of the mind," said owner Darick Spears.
Inside Darick Books near 76th and Locust, you'll find it all: children's books, adult books, motivational books, religious books -- and dozens written by Spears.
"Every book in here is an experience from my life. I’ve had so many experiences, I went through so much," Spears said.
Spears' love for literature began as a boy, finding writing as an escape.
"The way I felt about the world, I just dove into a notebook and I got so obsessed with it I would fill up 70-page notebooks just in one day," said Spears.
His appreciation for reading came in high school, hearing he'd get called on in class.
"I would be nervous. I would go home and practice reading just for when she or he called on me so I could read fast. I began to love reading," Spears said.
In the back of his bookstore sits a treasure trove of unpublished work. Stories on papers and notepads fill a suitcase.
Darick Books offers much more, too.
"We can create songs, we can create books, we can write, we can create film," said Spears.
In this chapter of his life, Spears is using his creativity to teach and inspire.
"It’s not about how many words are on the page. It’s if the right words are on the page," Spears said.
Spears hopes his work leaves a lasting impact for generations to come. He hopes to see more Black-owned book stores and Black authors on book store shelves.