(September 2006 ) – William Murrell, founder of BlackSoftware.com defined Ethnic software programs as follows.
These are software titles, apps, and applications containing culturally accurate graphics, music, text, photos, images, illustrations, spoken word, and other media representing one or more ethnic groups.
Ethnic Software was proposed to WikiPedia to be inserted as subcategory of applications software. We began proving ethnic software pre-existed by telling the story of AfroLink Software, Inc.
The company had released a CD-ROM program with animation and sound featuring 500 questions and answers about Black Americans and African history for Meharry Medical College and Howard University Hospital. * This ethnic software educated lay people about diseases that disproportionately afflict black people.
* In 1985, SpiritDatatree Online, a dialup BBS node originating in Boston, launched its black software discovery search across more than 50 nationwide AfroNet Fido network nodes.
* Along the way, we met a Black man ( Sanyaku Amare Sheps of Washington D.C.) in his shop surrounded by servers, switches and wires. to explore what he was doing. He said we were seated in the operations center of the first Black owned ISP. Talks continued, the relationship grew.
* From 1994 , the American Visions periodical, the official print magazine of the Afro-American Museums Association at the time, expanded online. A profit making social network was built titled GO AFRO. Murrell was hired to launch and manage it.
Go Afro operated like a Facebook in user access, but it required paid membership. This unique online destination had incredible stickiness. Users had an 18 subject digital library and electronic discussion forums, they had a large scale public town hall digital meeting space that supported 250 managed, simultaneous participants. Each of the 18 message forums had private chat channel allowing for one to one or one to many invited chats. The Go Afro product was modeled after the magazine table of contents.
- One topic not found in the publication was labeled blackSoftware by Murrell. Its purpose was for the discovery and promotion of any black software products in the world.
ETHNIC SOFTWARE RELEASES
Microsoft published an African American and Black World version of its popular Encarta CD ROM software encyclopedia. The new version named Encarta Africana was announced in 1999 by the Chair of African and African American Studies and the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University who converted a print edition of the same name into the Encarta Africana CD-ROM for Microsoft. * You can view a video [ osted by WGBH before relocated] here about the release of Encarta Africana and the relationship and cash flows between Gates and Gates.
Betye Saar’s 1999 CD-ROM titled “Digital Griot” art showcase and Mumia Abu-Jamal’s “Live from Death Row” computerized story about his involvement with the Black Panthers and the MOVE organization, were published by Voyager, a software company distributing interesting educational CD ROMS that run on Windows and Mac OS enabled computers, made their debut for the masses and were reviewed by Wired Magazine.
In October of the year 2000, Black Enterprise magazine’s Tech Watch column referred readers to African American software products being provided by companies and web sites (including this one), in response to a reader’s query who wrote a letter to the editor asking where to find software containing learning and history topics with African American themes for young children.
Ethnic Software became 10 years old in 1999
Ethnic software programmed by the African American has been referred to as BLACKWARE or blacksoftware. Created by AfroCentrists, these screen savers, clip art, and multimedia CD-ROMs were important as various Digital Divide initiatives spurred African American and Hispanic pc ownership and internet use.
The Ethnic Software Project explains The Yiddish Typewriter programmed by Raphael Finkel.
(c) 2008. Copyleft is encouraged.