Most of us use Wikipedia whenever we need our memories refreshed or some quick information on various people and topics. So much can be discovered while you’re on there too, because one click always leads into another. However, there are still flaws and missing pages from this massive online textbook and many a Black legacy has been wrongfully absent –until now. The Wikimedia D.C. foundation, based out of Howard University, is aiming to add more Black history-themed content to Wikipedia’s pages, to highlight the other great achievements of lesser known heroes, events, and places.
As a Black History Month project, it’s both a personal and public outpour of gratitude for the HBCU foundation. For every Thursday this month, they meet at a Howard University research center to gather a list of who and what they’ll like to add to Wikipedia, also collaborating with prominent historical institution the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York and the respected NPR.
Some of the notable features recently added include Myra Adele Logan, the first woman to conduct open-heart surgery, and Farish Street of Jackson, Mississippi, a National Landmark and home of thriving Black businesses in the 1970s. Logan and Farish Street were just as influential as Madame C.J. Walker and the Black Power movement, but are not as ingrained in our general cognizance. James Hare, the Wikimedia D.C. president, spoke to The New York Times, about how the initial development of Wikipedia exercised a specific outlook: “The stereotype of a Wikipedia editor is a 30-year-old white man, and so most of the articles written are about stuff that interests 30-year-old white men. So a lot of black history is left out.”
The cause of adding more stories of color (pun intended) unto Wikipedia is a commendable effort and it really speaks to the impact Wikipedia has gained as a persuasive and informative platform. It used to be a joke that if something wasn’t on Wikipedia, it really wasn’t important (basically, the original Instagram). Wikimedia D.C understands that the stepping-stones of Black history must be rightfully traced back to the people and events that tore important barriers down.