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Black History Month

 

It’s October which marks Black History Month! A month that has been celebrated annually in the UK since 1987. This marks a time when we come together and acknowledge our diverse culture and celebrate the history and achievements of black heroes both past and present that have contributed to making our society a better place.

Black History Month originated from Carter G Woodson, who wanted to challenge the assumptions at the time that ‘the negro had no history’. This resulted in Carter founding the Association for the Study of Negro and History in 1915, which aimed to encourage research and protect and preserve black history and culture. However, the idea was first brought into the UK, in the 1980s by Akyaaba Addai Sebo to eradicate discrimination and promote the importance of equality across the UK [1].

In the US and Canada, black history month is in February, whilst in the UK and Ireland, we celebrate it in October. Why? This is because, Akyaaba Addai Sebo chose it, as it fell in line with the start of the academic year and therefore thought it would inspire young people. Alongside the fact, October is traditionally when African leaders unite and settle their differences, so it was chosen as a month to reconnect [1].

Being part of the tech industry, we undoubtedly recognise the multitude of black engineers and leaders that have pushed for change in the tech industry. As well as pushing technology forward through the invention of numerous products and features that have set the stage for technologies we still rely on today and inevitably will in our future. Here, we share three extraordinary examples of black pioneers that have made a large contribution to the tech industry.

 

  1. Firstly, we must obviously discuss the incredible legacy of Marain Croack. She is an inventor in the voice and data communication field [2] and is best known for envisioning and developing the technology that is responsible for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This invention has meant we can make calls over the internet instead of a phone line. Which Devyce know all about and have you to thank for contributing to an integral part of our business!
  2. John Henry Thompson, ‘the father of Lingo programming’ [3] invented Lingo, a scripting language that displays visuals in computer programmes. His programming language is embedded into Macromedia Director and popular Adobe Programmes [4]. Essentially, his work has helped combine the world of art and tech in video games, graphic design, web design and computer graphics today. Both designers and Adobe users should thank Thompson!
  3. Lastly, Kimberley Bryant, is an excellent modern-day example of an inspirational black leader that is making positive change in the tech world. Kimberley founded Black Girls CODE, whose mission is to help young women of colour get into the tech world by introducing them to numerous science and technology concepts. Currently, Black Girls CODE has reached 30,000 women and has taught over 50,000 hours [5]. It is clear that her actions have already helped so many young women. Her drive to change the narrative within the tech industry surrounding diversity in STEM, will undeniably have a positive impact on our future, as it will increase the number of female black, tech founders, entrepreneurs and leaders. 

    Of course, there are also many more inspirational leaders and influencers, and we encourage you to explore more! 

    You can also celebrate this month by:

  • Raising money for a charity that is dedicated to helping the lives of ethnic minorities.
  • Shopping from blacked owned businesses or supporting them in other ways by sharing them on social media platforms, with friends and family.

References: 

[1] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/black-history-month-2022-uk-why-is-it-important-why-celebrated-in-october-a4250966.html 

[2] https://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/marian-croak#:~:text=Croak%20is%20a%20prolific%20inventor,computer%20or%20other%20digital%20device

[3] https://blog.adafruit.com/2015/02/26/john-henry-thompson-invented-lingo-programming-used-in-macromedia-director-and-shockwave-african-american-history-month-2015-blackhistorymonth/

[4] https://tisch.nyu.edu/itp/events/fall-2017/dice-with-john-henry-thompson#:~:text=John%20Thompson%20invented%20lingo%20programming,design%2C%20animation%2C%20and%20graphics.

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