Books are the closest thing that humanity will ever come to time traveling and teleportation. Reading a novel from your favorite book genre can mentally transport you into a different century, another dimension or within a fantastical universe alongside mythological creatures.
A key to change also lies within books. Many authors, specifically Black authors, have used their writing to open the doorway for much-needed intercultural conversations and provide pivotal perspectives necessary for progression. Understanding the importance of keeping these voices alive with the circulation of their literary work, Solange Knowles has established a free digital library dedicated to showcasing brilliant books authored by Black people.
The Saint Heron Community Library—an extension of Knowles’ 2013-launched creative agency that’s purpose is amplifying Black and Brown voices —debuted on Monday (October 18). It’s first “season” was arranged by Rosa Duffy, founder of Atlanta’s For Keeps Bookstore, and consists of a sundry grouping of Black literary masterpieces.
“Books presently available include a photography and poem collection by artist Amiri Baraka, a copy of Langston Hughes’ 1942 Shakespeare in Harlem, multiple poem collections by Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler’s Clay’s Ark, and many others,” according to Refinery29.
If novels aren’t your thing that’s quite alright because Solange’s library has an array of other stylizations of literature available for reading. Selections for the collection range from books to zines, poems to history books, and encompasses 50 anthologies—all authored by Black folks.
Solange Knowles’ concept behind curating the library stems from wanting to provide members of the Black and Brown community with access to literary art created by fellow Black and Brown people.
“We believe our community is deserving of access to the stylistically expansive range of Black and Brown voices in poetry, visual art, critical thought and design,” Saint Heron writes on their site. “The library’s focus is education, knowledge production, creative inspiration and skill development through works by artists, designers, historians, and activists from around the world.”