It's a Black Thing

Article excerpt

CD-ROMs and clip art with an African American perspective

Computing is a colorless medium. It's full of bits and bytes that can be used by any who dare to tame them. It's the electronic content that helps fill in the lines of our existence and shapes our view of this increasingly connected world. Unfortunately, African Americans are often viewed as laggards in the digital economy. As a result, Web sites, clip art and software are rarely targeted to our community. But that's beginning to change. In honor of Black History month we've taken a look at some CD-ROM titles and clip art packages that do just that. Listed are a few that caught our attention. We're sure they'll also catch yours.

* CD-ROMs

African American History

This multimedia program is designed for libraries and schools (grades 8 to 12), but can be enjoyed by anyone seeking a well-balanced overview of African American history. It covers a wealth of topics from slavery and the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement. This complete course of study uses historical photos, drawings and actual voices of leaders such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes and others to make this program vivid and enriching. There's also a multiple-choice quiz feature to make this program teacher/student friendly.

* Published by Queue Inc.

* PC/Mac

* CD-ROM: $39

* To purchase call 800-232-2224

Encyclopaedia Britannica Profiles Black History

This interactive CD-ROM chronicles people, places and events in black history from 1591 to 1997. The program lets you select a time period and category such as: politics, religion, education, civil rights, slavery, arts and sports to preview a written, audio, or video clip of particular eras. Video clips include Civil Rights demonstrations, Malcolm X interviews and even Billie Holiday performances. One unique feature of this product is an annotated bibliography of books on African American history and Black History month.

* PC/Mac

* CD-ROM: $29.95

* To purchase call 800-747-8503

Microsoft Encarta Africana

Encarta Africana was inspired by W.E.B. DuBois' proposal 100 years ago for an Africana Encyclopedia. To fulfill DuBois' dream, a team called "Afropedia," led by Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, has developed a comprehensive history of the African Americans meant to serve as a reference resource on the history, geography and culture of Africa and people of African descent.

* CD-ROM: $69.99 ($49.99 after 20 limited time rebate)

* www.microsoft.com

* Scheduled for February release

The African American People--A Proud People With A Great Heritage

This program is meant to be fun and child-friendly while uncovering the history of Africa and the early years of Africans in America. …