It has been over 150 years since slavery ended in the United States. Since then, there have been many people leading movements and overcoming adversities to continue the fight against racism. While there has been much progress in the way of civil rights, equal opportunity, and reduced discrimination, it is easy to forget the individuals who broke out of societal norms and the challenges they faced during their journeys.
Despite inventions by Black Americans that changed the world, achievements that topped world records, and movements that were met with unimaginable challenges, there continues to be a gap in the biographies of these amazing people that are available in the digital age. We are at risk of forgetting the pioneers who took part in shaping the communities of their time and led the way towards equality, impacting future decades and centuries.
For example, noticeable gaps in digital biographies continue today because the vast majority of literature on Black Americans was published after the 1960s civil rights movement. That means that most literature about Black Americans who made their contributions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is still protected under copyright law—unlike similar literature published about whites in the 1920s. This has a significant impact on what people can find to write about on Wikipedia, blogs, or social media. Without a dedicated effort to research that literature professionally, it will be decades before all of it and its digital offspring make its way to public sources online.
Wenard is on a mission to research and properly document notable Black Americans who have been forgotten. We want their lives to have a digital footprint so they can be read about for decades and appreciated for their achievements.
For example, we recently donated articles to Wikipedia about underrepresented Blacks who never had digital presence on Wikipedia before, including:
We need contributions to help fund the deep-digging research, cataloging, and writing involved with bringing more profiles to the world stage. Your single, small gift can bring one more person of color from obscurity into today’s online world.