It is the aim of the founders and sponsors to foster understanding through knowledge, in order to generate constructive change in our society. BlackPast.org’s features include an online encyclopedia of more than 3,500 entries on the people, places, events, institutions and episodes which have shaped African American history. Volunteer content contributors add to that information almost daily by writing encyclopedia entries on people, events, institutions, places and episodes in African American and global African history. These entries form the intellectual heart of BlackPast.org. The site has other features which make it a first stop for visitors ranging from the professional researcher to the high school student seeking to augment their knowledge of African American history. They include the complete transcript of nearly 300 speeches given between 1789 and 2014 as well as over 160 full text primary documents: court decisions, laws, treaties, government report, and executive orders. The website holds nine bibliographies which lists over 5,000 major books on African American and global African history categorized by subfield and time period. BlackPast.org offers four “Gateway” pages with links to 50 digital archive collections in major universities across the United States, 100 African American museums and research centers, and over 500 other website resources on African American history. The online magazine of BlackPast.org called Perspectives features well over 100 1,500- word essays written by professional historians and by individuals who witnessed or shaped African American history.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
With its vast array of scholarly features BlackPast.org has become the website of record for a number of university libraries in the United States and Canada. BlackPast.org’s greatest impact and success lies however, with its international audience. Right now the website averages about 12,000 visitors per day. Since its launch on February 1, 2007, more than 10 million people have used BlackPast.org. This volume of traffic ratifies our importance to millions of people around the world who depend upon us for timely, accurate, and reliable information. It also reinforces our determination to continue to make the website free and ungated to all visitors. Our greatest need is to upgrade the infrastructure of a site that was built in 2007 to take advantage of 2015 technology. With an aging design (in technological terms), we run the risk of not being able to fulfill our mission. It is critical that we move toward state-of-the-art designs as quickly as possible.