Black Historical past Month: Tech titans are honoring Black historical past this February and past

These choices embrace instruments to assist folks help Black-owned companies, digital museum choices, coding initiatives, expertise coaching, and extra.

Picture: Microsoft

February serves as a month-long celebration of Black historical past and a time to honor pioneers, artists, athletes, political figures, and extra all through the Black group. To honor Black Historical past Month, titans in know-how are providing expertise coaching, racial justice coding initiatives, and options to assist folks help Black-owned companies. Beneath, we have detailed a number of the methods Microsoft, the Linux Basis, IBM, Apple, and Google are honoring Black Historical past Month this February and past.


Up to now, museums have supplied curated occasions detailing Black historical past throughout February. Nonetheless, COVID-19 has pressured many museums to shut to mitigate the unfold of the coronavirus pandemic. To help, Microsoft is providing a “digital journey by means of Black historical past” in collaboration with greater than a dozen museums and different establishments. Total, the Microsoft Black Historical past Month expertise presents digital displays highlighting, Muhammad Ali, the Tuskegee Airmen, Jackie Robinson, and extra.

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“Rising up in Detroit … we leaned on our museums as the principle supply of historical past and historic reflection throughout Black Historical past Month,” mentioned Shy Averett, group program and occasions supervisor at Microsoft Retailer within the weblog put up. “[But now] museums are closed, and college students cannot go to them. I knew 90-plus p.c of colleges in America weren’t going to have a wealthy, various, academic Black Historical past Month as a result of they lean so closely on museums.”

Microsoft’s Legacy Challenge presents a digital portal highlighting Black trailblazers reminiscent of physics pioneer, an engineer concerned in Martian exploration efforts, in addition to educators, political figures, enterprise professionals, and extra.

“Black historical past is not one thing of the previous—it is alive and being made each single day. Children are the following era of history-makers, so with museums closed, I used to be decided to discover a method for Microsoft Retailer to just about convey Black historical past to life for college kids across the nation,” Averett mentioned.

“We’re proud to accomplice with high museums and use immersive know-how to showcase the Black achievers shaping our historical past and our future,” Averett continued.

IBM and Linux Basis

On Friday, the Linux Basis introduced plans to host a sequence of initiatives as a part of the Name for Code for Racial Justice initiative which launched final fall. Total, the Linux Basis mentioned the initiative is meant to “urge the worldwide developer ecosystem and open supply group to contribute to options that may assist confront racial inequalities.”

The undertaking entails three main areas together with various illustration, police and judicial reform and accountability, in addition to coverage and laws reform. The Linux Basis mentioned this undertaking builds on the Name for Code, which has amassed greater than 400,000 “builders and drawback solvers” from 179 nations since its inception in 2018. 

“Open supply know-how has an essential function to play in addressing the best challenges of our time, and that features racial justice,” mentioned Mike Dolan, senior vp and GM of initiatives on the Linux Basis within the launch. “We’re excited to host and help these initiatives on the Linux Basis and look ahead to how they are going to develop and deploy by means of contributions from the open supply group.”

SEE: Black workers are much less glad at work than all different workers (TechRepublic)

The Linux Basis additionally introduced two new initiatives: Honest Change and TakeTwo in partnership with IBM. TakeTwo is meant to scale back each “overt or delicate” biases in a variety of digital content material, together with information articles, blogs, internet pages, “and even code,” the discharge mentioned.

The Honest Change platform is designed to allow recording, cataloging, and entry of proof associated to “doubtlessly racially charged incidents” enabling “transparency, reeducation and reform as a matter of public curiosity and security,” in line with the Linux Basis. The discharge makes use of a site visitors cease for instance, noting that the video footage from this state of affairs may enable authorities and different “concerned events” to peruse these supplies and assess potential situational biases.

“These purposes emerged from an inner IBM program referred to as the Name for Code Emb(race) Problem, the place Black IBMers, supported by Pink Hat’s Blacks United in Management and Range (B.U.I.L.D.) group, and allies designed know-how options to handle the issue of systemic racism,” mentioned Ruth Davis, IBM director of Name for Code, within the launch.


Earlier this month, Melonie Parker, Google’s chief range officer and worker engagement introduced Develop with Google: Black Ladies Lead which goals to offer 100,000 Black girls with digital expertise coaching by 2022. That overwhelming majority of middle-skill jobs require digital instrument proficiency and Develop with Google: Black Ladies Lead will “deal with this important coaching,” Parker defined.

“The pandemic has resulted in unemployment for thousands and thousands of People, and its impacts are additional revealing the financial alternative gaps that also exist for Black girls. Throughout COVID-19, girls have accounted for 56% of workforce exits, and Black girls have been significantly impacted, shedding 154,000 jobs in December 2020 alone,” Parker mentioned within the launch.

SEE: Reddit chief says range audits are a check to see if tech leaders are all speak and no motion (TechRepublic)

Google has additionally launched capabilities to make it simpler for folks to seek out and help native Black-owned companies. Evaluating Google Developments knowledge from 2020 to 2019, the corporate mentioned that curiosity in “black owned companies” has elevated 600%. On Feb. 1, Google introduced that it was making it simpler for folks to find and buy items from numerous Black-owned corporations by “extending the Black-owned attribute to Google’s Procuring tab.” The corporate mentioned it will construct on an attribute launched on Maps and Google search final summer time.

In January, Minecraft introduced it had created classes concerning the Civil Rights motion and Black Lives Matter in its Good Bother world, and people so-inclined can entry a free demo of those choices till Feb. 28.


Apple can also be honoring Black Historical past Month with options throughout its product choices starting from information apps to instructed studying. Throughout February, people can entry the Black Historical past Month Hub within the App Retailer to peruse highlighted social justice purposes, Black-owned companies, and look at featured conversations with Black builders concerning the “significance of illustration in apps and video games,” in line with Apple.

Guides created in collaboration with EatOkra provide directories of Black-owned companies; Apple Music will honor Black artists and influencers by highlighting movies, essays, and playlists; and the Apple TV app will showcase “multidimensionality of the Black household and its illustration on display screen” through the Important Tales assortment. The corporate additionally introduced a Black Unity Assortment for its Apple Watch Collection 6, and Apple additionally presents Black Historical past Month options on its information, books, and podcasts choices. 

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