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Black History Month

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Co-Founder Ryan Wilson Explains Why The Gathering Spot Didn't Traditionally Celebrate Black History Month

Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress. Barack Obama was the first Black man to serve as President of the United States. Althea Gibson was the first Black woman to win a Grand Slam Tournament. Bayard Rustin organized and strategized alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., more notably leading the efforts to structure the March on Washington. The above facts are just a tiny drop in the bucket of history related to Black people and their contributions to America and the world. From the halls of academia to the entertainment industry, tech and business, and any other sector in between – no space exists without the imprint of Black people. For some, the range of excellence is held tightly in the short month of February. According to the NAACP, the month started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The week would eventually develop into Black History Month and be federally recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. And while the world pauses to...

Feb 24, 2023

TikTok Celebrates Black Creators Through Its First-Ever 'Visionary Voices' List

TikTok is kicking off Black History Month with Black creatives at the forefront.

Jan 31, 2023

10 Black Women Tech Influencers That Are Using Their Platforms To Help Others Break Into The Industry

Seeing a Black woman break into the tech industry is always an accomplishment to celebrate, but what makes the win even more major is how they lift up others along with them. In the age of social media, the underrepresented group is not only sharing their experiences in their fields but also using their platforms to create a domino effect of Black talent going from sending in their resumes to signing job offer letters. Here are 10 Black women tech influencers who are working with big names like Google, Meta, and Microsoft that are teaching the ins and outs of the industry to help bring more of the community on board.

Mar 9, 2022

Josh Aviv On Founding SparkCharge And Making History — 'I Started This Company In My Dorm Room'

All geniuses don’t wear lab coats. Sometimes, they ditch the lab coat and lead the way for innovation in technology! When Josh Aviv first conjured up the idea for SparkCharge, he was simply just trying to create a solution that would provide accessibility to the smart car industry for more people! “I started this company in my dorm room,” said Aviv in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “While on the campus of Syracuse University, we were the definition of a dorm room startup. From there, we had the opportunity to really receive some really good investments.” He continued: “And we were able to grow the company from one founder to a team of just about 40 employees.”

Feb 21, 2022

HBCU Student Kah’Milah Ledgester Landed Her Designs In Both Target And JCPenny Stores For Black History Month

This Florida A&M University student bet on herself and landed in national stores. Kah’Milah Ledgester submitted her designs for Target’s 2021 HBCU design contest and JCPenney’s Young, Gifted and Black design challenge. And, putting her hands in various baskets paid off. Ledgester was informed she won both competitions during the spring of 2021 and to expect them displayed on a national scale for Black History Month of 2022. FAMU senior graphic design student Kah'Milah Ledgester recently appeared in a @Target commercial showcasing her work for their 2022 Black History Collection! Way to strike from the top, Kah'Milah! Check out the commercial below! #famu #rattlers #blackbeyondmeasure — FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (@FAMUSJGC82) November 26, 2021 “I always get a little excited because of the fact that I did the Target challenge, and I also did JCPenney and won both of them. It made me feel very good because I took a chance,” said...

Feb 16, 2022

After Once Making $12K A Year, Lauren Simmons Says She Brings In $650K Annually And Saves 85 Percent

Lauren Simmons is the perfect example of a story about turning tragedy into triumph. In an op-ed for CNBC, the history-making Wall Street trader talked about how her journey was full of twists and turns — but it was her humble origins that kept her grounded. “One thing I’ve noticed is that, in general, most people have poor spending habits and struggle to save money. It may sound intense, but I save 85% of my annual income,” she explained. Additionally, Lauren Simmons also went into great detail about the difference between her needs and her wants. She saves money by taking care of her housing expenses upfront, splitting the cost of “treats” (like streaming service subscriptions) with other members of her family, plus ditching gym fees and taking part in free and outdoor activities to take care of her physical fitness. She also explained how she likes to travel — and saves money by traveling during the “off-season” instead of the peak season. Sometimes, she said, she can save up to...

Capital One Is Donating $10K Grants To Create A More Hopeful Future For Black-Owned Business

Capital One will continue to support underserved communities. The banking service will build on its $200 million multi-year commitment by contributing an additional $10 million to existing and new partnerships. The funding aims to close gaps in equity and opportunity to foster growth for underserved communities. Recipients of the new funding include African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, Vera Institute of Justice, United Negro College Fund, finEQUITY, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Black Girl Ventures, and Jobs for the Future. In addition, Capital One will target funding toward Black-owned businesses. The contribution will be timely as various Black businesses experienced financial droughts during the peak of the pandemic. Capital One will partner with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity to create the Capital One Business grant program. Business owners will receive $10,000 grants through the program and access to free resources to propel their business through...

Feb 8, 2022

17-Year-Old Imunique Triplett Earns Nursing Degree Before Graduating High School

The kids will forever be alright, especially with a drive like this! Imunique Triplett hasn’t even graduated high school yet, but she is making boss moves with a college degree under her belt — so, the possibilities are endless. According to The Black Detour, the 17-year-old is one of the first students to complete the process of obtaining her nursing degree, thanks to the M-Cubed College Connections program.

Feb 2, 2022

Former Miami Dolphins Coach Brian Flores Files Lawsuit Against The NFL, Teams For Alleged 'Racism In Hiring'

Is this how we’re kicking off Black History Month? Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores will officially sue the National Football League (NFL) for “racism in hiring” per reports from ESPN. He will also sue individual teams for the same alleged racist practices, which include the Denver Broncos, the New York Giants, and the Dolphins. “God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” said Flores in a statement surrounding the news. “In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me. My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.”

Feb 2, 2022

Meet Alexander Miles, the Black Inventor Who Was Once Minnesota's Wealthiest Businessman

Initially, elevators were manual. The doors had to be opened and closed by passengers or elevator operators, a feature that came with a number of associated safety risks. The elevators we use today have automatic doors thanks to Alexander Miles, an African American inventor who received a patent for his invention in 1887, according to BlackPast. Alexander Miles was born in 1838 in Duluth, Minnesota. Before his work on elevator door mechanisms, Alexander Miles found success as a barber and real estate developer. With a $500,000 net worth, he was recognized as the wealthiest Black man in Minnesota in the local Minneapolis paper Star Tribune — opening a real estate office, building a brownstone, formulating hair products, and becoming the first Black member of Duluth Chamber of Commerce. The ups and downs of business is what led to Alexander Miles’ most notable accomplishment. Inspired by an elevator ride with his daughter in which the doors remained open as the car traveled through...

Feb 26, 2021

Get to Know Otis Boykin, the Inventor Behind the Tech Used in Pacemakers and Cardiac Rhythm Devices

Many people in medtech credit inventor Earl E. Bakken as the creator of pacemakers and cardiac rhythm devices, but without the technology innovated by American inventor Otis Boykin those inventions would fail to exist today. Otis Frank Boykin, a Dallas native and electronic inventor, is the individual responsible for inventing the wire precision resistor — a type of technology that “enabled manufacturers to accurately designate a value of resistance for an individual piece of wire in electronic equipment,” Black Past reports. Before pursuing a life-long career as an inventor, Boykin attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee where he graduated from in 1941, Black Inventor notes. He later took a job as a laboratory assistant with the Majestic Radio and TV Corporation in Chicago, Illinois and left shortly after to start his own company, Boykin-Fruth Inc. At the same time, he also decided to go back to school and pursue his graduate studies at the Illinois Institute of...

Feb 24, 2021

How Scientist Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson Broke Barriers to Become a Telecommunications Visionary

There are many Black women in STEM who are not often recognized for their groundbreaking innovations, but Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is one who spent a lifetime breaking glass ceilings for her community to change that notion. Born in Washington D.C. back in 1946, Dr. Jackson — known as a renowned physicist and university president — grew up spurring an interest in science as a child and her parents helped nurture that throughout her educational career, according to The History Makers. After attending accelerated math and science classes at Roosevelt High School and graduating as valedictorian, she went off to pursue a degree in Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was among the first handful of Black students at MIT and became the first Black woman to receive her doctorate from the university. Her determination to break barriers and promote social justice motivated her to organize MIT’s Black Student Union, where she helped increase the number of Blacks students...

Feb 23, 2021

Meet Marie Van Brittan Brown, the Nurse Turned Inventor Behind the First Home Security System

Home security systems today use some of the most advanced surveillance technology known to man, and to think they didn’t come to exist until the late 1960s. Thanks to inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown, the idea for a home surveillance device transformed into building the foundation for what we now consider our modern-day security systems. Brown — who’s also credited for inventing the first closed circuit television — pioneered the very first first home security system and filed the patent that has influenced the kind of security technology installed in millions of today’s single-family homes, apartment buildings, and office buildings for small businesses around the world. According to Face2Face Africa, Brown took an unconventional path as an inventor. In fact, she began her professional career as a nurse who worked odd hours outside of the traditional 9-5 job. Her husband Albert Brown also worked many late nights away from home as an electronics technician. Brown often worried about...

Feb 18, 2021

Black Pioneers Whose Inventions and Leadership Helped Shape the Billion-Dollar Gaming Industry

Gaming is a billion-dollar industry (and counting) that often neglects or shuts out Black gamers. Though overlooked, Black developers, engineers, programmers, and gamers have skillfully contributed to the business. High-profile founders like Dennis Matthews and popular streaming gamers like Swagg continue to bring visibility to the Black gaming community, but before them, who laid the foundation? Let’s take a moment to salute the three Black pioneers who helped shape the modern gaming industry. Gerald “Jerry” Lawson As a kid, Queens, New York native Jerry Lawson nurtured his love for electronics. He repaired TVs as a teen and made walkie-talkies. He eventually became an engineer and designer at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp’s gaming division in the ’70s. There, Lawson led the team that invented the Fairchild Channel F (“F” is for fun), the first-ever video game console that allowed gamers to play several different games on one system via the first video game cartridge. It...

Feb 11, 2021

How Computer Scientist Lisa Gelobter Pioneered the Foundation For Internet Technologies

Black people in the field of tech have been way more integral than most may think. In fact, computer scientist Lisa Gelobter is one of the many modern Black tech innovators that pioneered a lot of the internet technology we use today. Lisa Gelobter — who is the current CEO and co-founder of tech-enabled platform tEQuitable — has over 25 years of experience in the tech industry. She’s the mastermind that cultivated the ascent of online video as well the brains behind software used in beloved consumer products such as Hulu and Shockwave — the 1995 essential technology that led to the development of interactive multimedia, web animation, and video games, according to her company’s website. Without Gelobter’s contribution to Shockwave, streaming and other digital privileges may not have existed. Additionally, she’s also the computer scientist who developed the animation used to create GIFs — a forever game-changer to social media apps that have integrated the multimedia practice into...

Feb 8, 2021