Dolores Nehemiah has just retired after 20 years as president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association for the Study of Afro-American History (ASAAH).

But that does not mean the septuagenarian has slowed down one iota. In fact, she sheepishly and laughingly acknowledges charges that she has not really retired at all, but has merely switched her focus.

What keeps the history lover busy now is her passion–getting books into the hands of young people in the community via a mobile book program called D-Mobile, The Traveling Book Nook.

“It actually started 30 years ago as a passion, but I just launched it recently,” explained Nehemiah about her mission. “I needed to pass it (the love of books) on but I got so busy with this branch of the association,” said the spry senior citizen.

ASAAH was begun by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1915. Woodson is also the creator of Black History Month.

“I’ve been talking with a lot of young people; asking them about different authors . . . like W.E. B. Dubois, Carter G. Woodson, and Bebe Moore Campbell,” Nehemiah said.

What she found was that students have not really heard of Dubois or Woodson, and think they know who Campbell was.

That uncertainty is part of what fuels Nehemiah.

Using a pick-up truck she says was a “miracle” The Lord just dropped into her hands, she has been traveling to schools, family reunions, and other events selling her books.

But she’s not doing it for the profit, because with the first $125 Nehemiah made in July, she bought a copy of the hefty Africana Encyclopedia and donated it to Dillard University.

Ultimately her goal is to open a boutique selling books and the African-style garb she wears daily, which is made for her by a family member in Ghana.

Nehemiah realizes this is a down-the-road goal, and is consequently spending much of her time getting what she calls the must-have African American classic books into the hands of young readers. These include The Mis-Education of the Negro, The Souls of Black Folk, Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name, 72 Hour Hold, Invisible Man, The Black Bourgeois, Up From Slavery, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.

If she can infect and infuse young people with a thirst for reading these and other classics, Nehemiah believes her passion will be well served until her boutique opens.

And as for retirement . . . well let’s just say put on your running shoes, if you want to keep up.