My name is Helen Ghebreyesus and I’m a senior at San Francisco State University majoring in Women and Gender Studies and minoring in Race and Resistance Studies and Health Education. This semester I took a class called Grassroots Organizing for Change in Communities of Color which focused on social change campaigns and movements. One of the requirements for that class was to volunteer with a grassroots organization. I choose Freedom Archives because I was interested in learning more about the  hidden histories held there, especially about the African continent.

Image from Liberation Through Participation: Women in the Zimbabwean Revolution

During my time at Freedom Archives, I had the opportunity to look at collections focusing on national liberation movements in Zimbabwe and Eritrea. Looking through journals, pamphlets and other materials, I came across unfiltered information produced by the people that participated in the liberation struggles, which felt like a privilege because I have never seen these materials before. At the same time, I was also engaging in discussions about these materials to better understand the historical context in which they were created.

Volunteering with Freedom Archives has shown me the importance of  primary resources and archival materials in terms of understanding peoples’ struggles on the African continent. Unveiling this history of anti-colonial resistance means making history that otherwise is forgotten or untold available and accessible for young people like myself to explore and learn from the accomplishments and the setbacks to understand the present day.

At the end of my time at Freedom Archives, I applied and was approved to teach a class at SFSU with the Experimental College about the Eritrean National Liberation Movement. I look forward to using some of the materials I found at the archives in my class.

Please help support more of this type of work by donating to the Freedom Archives.