Google celebrated the birthday of Lebanese feminist and author Anbara Salam Khalidi Saturday with a Google Doodle — a temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages in the Middle East.
Khalidi, one of 12 children, was born on August 4, 1897 in Lebanon.
She is best known for challenging the status quo in an era when educating girls was considered controversial.
Khalidi’s father, a deputy in the Ottoman parliament, encouraged her to attend a school in Beirut, and travel to Egypt to further her progressive values.
Among her other activities, Khalidi is known for being the first Muslim woman in Lebanon to publicly abandon the veil in 1927 during a lecture at the American University of Beirut.
She translated many globally-known pieces of literature into Arabic, and wrote memoirs about her life as an early Arab feminist.
Through her activism, translations, and writing, Lebanese feminist Anbara Salam Khalidi greatly advanced the cause of women’s right in the Arab world.
Khalidi was born into a prominent Lebanese family in 1897. As a result of her family’s status, Khalidi was allowed a very unique opportunity for Lebanese women in the early 20th century—to travel through the Arab world in pursuit of worldly education. Her studies abroad were truly transformative, as they enabled her exposure to different languages and cultures through readings and travels.
Her travels changed her own relationship with personal freedoms. As a Lebanese noblewoman, Khalidi wore a full-face veil through her adolescence. At 15, she travelled to Cairo. The relative freedoms of Egyptian women helped inspire her progressive stance towards traditional Lebanese norms, including abandoning her traditional face veil. In 1927, she lectured at the Women’s Renaissance Society with her face uncovered despite the controversy that ensued.
Khalidi was dedicated to advancing women’s rights through education, and wrote to the press about the repression faced by Arab women. She also translated Homer’s classics into Arabic, so that others could benefit from her education abroad. At 81 years old, Khalidi published her memoir, later translated to English under the title ‘Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist.’
Today’s Doodle highlights how Khalidi used the written word to spread her message of equality.
Happy birthday, Anbara Salam Khalidi!