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African Americans were the digital divided when the US Department of Commerce budgeted intentional efforts to mount more Blacks and minorities onto the digital Information Superhighway. The mass consumer adopted 1995-Internet was not here yet. Blacks were using AOL, Prodigy, Earthlink, Afronet and other online networks to get connected. Enter Amerian Visions (AV), the official publications of the African American Museums Association at the time to address the problem.

AV was nowhere online when it conceived an “Interactive Niagara Movement” in collaboration with the Congressional Black Caucus and Dept of Commerce. The magazine reached across America and Pan-Africa. an educated and Afrocentric reader was its core customer. Many attended the meetings on Capitol Hill. And this is it.

African American computer symposium documents.

Washington, DC, 1993
Pictures from the First African American Computer Consortium held in the United States. It was titled An Interactive Niagara Movement
first African American computer symposium

Completed an electronic communications tech training curriculum, scored the FCC Radio Telephone license. Together, these papers opened doors to an electronic analog driven industry moving fast toward the digital. Computers came later, but as those numerical computing engines matured they became a career.

Our Electronic Desk, the early version

I had been selling a lot of laptop computers from our laptop boutique store when a consultant from Harvard approached us. He had worked out an application that when loaded onto a plain Windows era portable, it turned it into an “electronic desk” that could handle all forms of digital data production, storage, and communications.

The app was a SAAS client of the CONNECT online network – a business-oriented version of the consumer AOL with features that made a user more connected and productive. It provided faxing, rich media creation, email, shareable address books and folders, and more.

The store pre-loaded the app onto our stock laptops. We gave it away to buyers and anticipated subscription revenue would follow if users keep the app working past the trial period. We found, to our surprise that 99% of buyers removed the app from the machine. We were too early. The app was a lot like what Office 365 has become today.

“CONNECT” pre-loaded

Here’s my Boston Magazine “Best of Boston” award for laptop and desktop computer retail innovation.

kudos to the crew

World’s first portable computer they say.

my Osborne 1

The word we made is “blackSoftware.”

This is the definition we conceived, coined and distribute for the genre blackSoftware.

original logo (1989)
modernized logo (2015)