Solidarity Library: African American professors dedicate online database to Birzeit University
Following her visit to Birzeit University in May 2023 as part of a delegation from the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), an African American woman professor and her colleague created a database of books and speeches by African American authors, intended for the use of Birzeit University students.
Titled "Solidarity Library," the idea behind the database emerged after the professors met with members of the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University and discussed the intersectionality of Black and Palestinian struggles. After learning about the difficulties Birzeit University students face in accessing books written by African American authors, they decided to create an open library as an act of solidarity with Birzeit University students.
The online database includes books, speeches and footage from African American authors spanning various topics and periods, including but not limited to pre-colonial Africa, slavery, the civil rights movement, black and Palestinian solidarity, decolonization and black feminism.
One of the professors is a filmmaker who uses storytelling for social justice and is committed to the legacy of Black and Palestinian solidarity. The other professor is a community activist who specializes in advancing Black liberation throughout the African Diaspora.
The professors maintained, “In creating the library, we hope to embody the words of Assata Shakur: "Where there is oppression, there will be resistance." It is our honor to resist together with the Birzeit University community and the Palestinian people.”
Sundos Hammad, coordinator of the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University, commented on the Solidarity Library by saying, “The idea of the library came through after one of the professors learned that the Right to Education’s volunteers were interested in conducting research on the intersectionality of the Palestinian cause under occupation and the apartheid system imposed on Africans worldwide. Initially, they wanted to create a Google Drive folder of intellectual productions by African American freedom fighters. This simple project was a challenge to the occupation's policy of restricting access to books of this kind, which is considered a violation of Palestinian academic freedom. The pleasant surprise was that this academic, along with her colleague, developed a website that has a great number of books and articles across various important topics. They dedicated it to the students of Birzeit University and to Palestinians in general out of belief in the justness of the Palestinian cause.”
To access the library, please refer to Birzeit University’s online Database. The database is listed as entry #48 under the Free Subscription or Open Access section. To learn how to log in, click on [details] next to "Solidarity Library."
Birzeit University's online database: http://library.birzeit.edu/library/fulltext_en2.php