Eric The door is propped and the neon "open" sign shines through the midday sun. Eric is hunched over the computer. Each week, he commutes from Cary to Chapel Hill to volunteer at Internationalist Books & Community Center. He has been volunteering here -- a place he learned about online -- for two months. "It's a radical anarchist book space more or less," he says.
Eric says typically two types of people visit: the curious, and "sometimes it's people doing stories about the place, the murder."
The Internationalist Bookstore and Community Center serves almost as a remembrance to founder and local activist Bob Sheldon who established the Internationalist in 1981 as a meeting place to provide alternate information on 1980s anti-apartheid. Over time, the store/community center has evolved from a small reading room to a non-profit center for political activism, radical reads, and a place to spawn grass roots movements. It's a place for progressive thinking and social justice, espousing those of any age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and political viewpoint.
Sheldon was shot and killed while closing the store in 1991. More than 20 years later, the cause of his death remains a mystery. Some surmise it was a robbery gone awry, others believe it was politically motivated. No arrests were made. The case remains open.
Besides the Internationalist, Sheldon is memorialized in writings, film and song. The Indigo Girls referenced Sheldon in the song "Jonas and Ezekiel," and the lyrics to the Sonic Youth track "Chapel Hill" chronicle Sheldon's death.
Eric was born around the time Sheldon was killed. To him, Sheldon is the man in the red frame hanging by the store entrance. However, it's the ideals behind the store that fuel his commute.
(photograph was taken on Franklin between Kenan and Roberson)