As part of Black History Month this year, I had the opportunity to talk about The Black Experience in America: The Course with a group of people whose work played a significant role in making it possible.
During the month I was the guest for an online gathering of more than 1,000 Adobe employees, hosted by the company’s Black Employee Network. (See a recap on the Adobe blog here.) I spoke with Chief Talent & Diversity Officer Brian Miller about my work on The Course, my career journey in business and technology journalism, and the importance of understanding the stories of people from different backgrounds.
The conversation was significant for me for a number of reasons. Adobe was one of the first companies I covered as a beat reporter when I moved to Silicon Valley 22 years ago, and I’ve gotten to know all three of the CEOs the company has had. I also consider myself a multi-platform storyteller, having reported for newspapers, magazines and broadcast. Along the way, I’ve produced audio podcasts, video packages, photo illustrations, printed newsletters and interactive online experiences. In the digital sense, I tend to get my hands dirty — not only in front of the camera, but also behind the scenes, designing and building the digital product.
Outside of my work as a business journalist, I’m also an Adobe customer; I pay for Adobe Creative Cloud, and have used the software tools to design the graphics and PDF downloads for The Course and to edit the video components. I also use the tools to illustrate my Fortt Knox newsletter and to transcribe, caption and edit Fortt Knox videos.
Part of my message to Adobe was that the power of software has enabled storytelling at a scale that was scarcely imaginable two decades ago when the Internet was young and I first started covering the company. These days one individual creator can affordably conceive, design and deliver detailed learning materials to a global audience at professional quality, without having to go through traditional publishers. As we equip more people with these storytelling tools and the skills to use them, we’ll gain a richer understanding of our past, and the path forward.
Free resources are available in The Black Experience in America: The Course. Download the Black & White Curriculum Book for an overview of the structure and ideas:
And it’s not just for Black History Month: Download these free images to honor figures from Black history:
For the broadest access to The Black Experience in America: The Course, purchase this premium bundle. It includes the full-color curriculum book, and lessons The Souls of Black Folk, Othello, Civil Rights, and Multiculturalism.