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Howard University Fills in Wikipedia’s Gaps in Black History

Howard University (Josh/Creative Commons BY 2.0)
Howard University Founders Library (Josh/Creative Commons BY 2.0)

Jada F. Smith, NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON (The New York Times)—Wikipedia is a vast ocean of erudition, with entries on virtually every subject, obscure to earth-shattering, and, it may seem, every human being of even vague renown. It is also, its leaders concede, very white.

“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,” said James Hare, president of Wikimedia D.C., the local branch of the foundation that runs Wikipedia. “So a lot of black history is left out.”

Students and faculty members at Howard University, one of the nation’s pre-eminent historically black higher education institutions, set out Thursday to fill in the gaps. With Black History Month upon them, they camped out at a Howard research center that houses one of the world’s largest repositories of Africana and African diaspora information and, over coffee and pizza, worked to add some tint to Wikipedia’s white.


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