The Black Digital Elite
African American Leaders of the Information Revolution
by John T. Barber
September 2006, 216pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98504-2
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-03886-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Profiles the lives and careers of 26 contemporary African American leaders of the information age.

Most discussions of the digital divide focus on the gap between African Americans and others when it comes to using, and benefiting from, the technological and business opportunities of the information age. Although many African Americans are locked out of the information revolution, others are an integral part of its development and progress. Barber profiles 26 of those leaders here, engagingly and informatively blending biography with insight and analysis.

Most discussions of the digital divide focus on the gap between African Americans and others when it comes to using, and benefiting from, the technological and business opportunities of the information age. Although many African Americans are locked out of the information revolution, others are an integral part of its development and progress. Barber profiles 26 of them here, engagingly and informatively blending biography with insight and analysis.

Documenting history as it is being made, this book features achievers in all fields of relevant endeavor, including scientists, business leaders, power brokers, and community leaders. Among them are Robert Johnson, CEO of Black Entertainment Television; Richard Parsons, CEO of AOL Time-Warner; congressmen and other policymakers in Washington, D.C.; and men and women who are working to bridge the digital divide in satellite radio, web-based portals, and on the ground with IT workshops. This book is not just about business success or technological progress. The African American digerati are solving one of the great social challenges of the 21st century: creating a black community that is prosperous in a society that has changed from being a land-based industrial society to a cyberspace-based information society.

Reviews

"[T]his book opens the window to the leadership role of African Americans in the digital arena. Barber offers a way to examine the relationship between African Americans and the Information Revolution. He also reminds his readers that considering the internet a white technology ignores the contributions and complexities in African Americans' relationship to the new digital media."—The Journal of African American History, April 1, 2008

"Barber provides profiles of 26 African Americans who are leaders in the information industry, including computer scientists, policymakers, educators, entrepreneurs, mathematicians, analysts, developers, activists, and businesspeople. He describes the contributions and lives of innovators such as Roy L. Clay, Sr., Clarence (Skip) Ellis, Ronald H. Brown, Congressman Bobby L. Rush, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Dhyana Ziegler, Robert L. Johnson, and Kenn Turner."—Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2007

"[B]arber provides over two dozen biographical essays on prominent Black politicians, computer scientists, educators, and entrpreneurs who have in one way or another contributed to the development of computer technology and its applications in American society....The topic of information technology and the African American community is important, especially as the digital divide becomes a more and more significant challenge for economically stressed areas of our cities and countryside. Barber's The Black Digital Elite will serve as a valuable summary of the part African Americans have played so far in the information revolution."—Collection Management, January 1, 2006

"[S]hows that African Americans are far from just being passive consumers and access-starved bystanders to the construction of the Information Superhighway and now, the data-sphere....This book is one-of-a-kind in important ways. After reading this book, give it to the nearest gamers and/or constantly IMing teens right away. It'll immediately broaden their horizons with ideas--perhaps on what to do with those gadgets."—Black Issues Book Review, January 1, 2007

"[B]arber profiles twenty-six African Americans who have made significant contributions to the advancement of technology over the past four decades. From inventors to CEOs, educators to policy-makers, the compilation of perhaps unfamiliar names and faces adds richness to the history of technological innovation. Beyond the biography, each profile includes an insightful discussion about the digital divide, its persistence and how African Americans can create new paradigms for themselves in order to bridge the gap."—BOOK ReMARKS, January 1, 2006

"Despite talk of a digital divide along lines of race and class, media analyst Barber asserts that African Americans have been actively involved in the development and progress of information technology. He offers profiles of 26 black Americans who have made significant contributions to the advancement of technology....Barber highlights black scientists, policy makers, educators, and entrepreneurs who have advanced technological development in the U.S. Barber also illustrates how many of those he profiles are using information technology to address social issues."—Booklist, December 15, 2006
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