No Crystal Stair is a mix of fiction and nonfiction. It details the life of Lewis Michaux from birth to death and everything in between. It is written by his great niece. Lewis was born the son of a fish seller in Newport News, Virginia. He was one of 11 children; his mother also had 4 babies die at birth. All the children and the hard work eventually drove her a little crazy. His father was an ambitious and driven man who worked his way up to a successful business. Lewis’s brother Lightfoot became a well-known and successful preacher, who started several churches on the East Coast. Lewis tried many things in his life, some legal some not so legal, before he moved to Harlem and decided to educate the Black community. He believed that if you were ignorant of your history you were just a negro. So he wanted to inform Blacks about who they were and where they came from. He opened his National Memorial African Bookstore in the heart of Harlem. Starting with just five books, he built the store up to a quarter of a million books. All of his books were by Black people and about Black people. The bookstore became the meeting place for people like Malcolm X and others interested in helping the Black Community. Lewis, called the Professor, thought it was his duty to help and educate those around him. His place was a sanctuary, a school, a pulpit and a store. Eventually, the state forced the closure of the store and Lewis died of cancer shortly after. But his legacy lives on in those he helped and the lives he improved.

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