ASALH Synergy and Digital Integration
“At The Crossroads of Freedom and Equality”
By William Jackson, M.Edu.
ASALH Jacksonville Local Arrangement
Committee Member and Social Media Team
Inspired by the works of:
Janet Sims Wood, D’Shawna Bernard,
Adrena Ifill and Lesley Gist Etheridege
In the 21st century the infusion and integration of digital
platforms brings access to unparalleled abilities to gain
entry to information and resources.
Association for the Study of African American Life and
History has embraced the availability of digital tools
that allows for dynamic sharing of African American
history. In ten (10) short years the explosion of Social
Media tools that generated from a text browser Lynx to
full multi-media browsers of IE Internet Explorer, Mozilla
Firefox, Safari and others has allowed for seamless
The days of ASALH presentations have grown from
rudimentary paper handouts, overhead projectors,
antique filmstrips, cassette tape recordings and even
old video recorders. Today it is PowerPoint
presentations, Youtube and Vimeo movies, Skyping,
multimedia Apps, digital projectors and high def
The days of ASALH in Jacksonville showed a need for
and a requirement of the integration and infusion of
technology to reach a new generation of digital learners.
Learners like the students from William M. Raines who
participated in scholarly discussions. More high school
students especially African American should have been
allowed to attend and contribute at ASALH.
The development of each generation requires unique
tools to engage and inspire the youth of that generation.
ASALH is embracing technological tools and
Social Media platforms.
The workshops of ASALH covered many areas of African
American history each requiring a unique expertise.
There is a physical presence by individuals or groups
presenting and speaking, technology allowed for their
words to be amplified using Social Media tools spreading
their teachings to the globe through Twitter, Tumblr,
Instagram and Facebook feeds. Social Media allows for
the passions of African Americans to be shared globally,
ASALH attendees embraced tools such as Hashtags (#)
that allowed the sharing of content when Microblogging
on Twitter #ASALH.
The relevance in today’s African American 21st century
users has even spread to the Blogging world where
writer/bloggers like myself Blog about our ASALH experiences.
African American history is a time machine to the past and
technological tools create a wormhole to the future.
In Nehemiah 6:3 (KJV) the statement, “And I sent messages
unto them saying…..” applies that ASALH uses digital tools
to send messages on a platform that this digital age can
receive and share. There are no longer excuses for African
Americans to say they cannot access their history.
The Internet houses terabytes of information in text,
audio, video, and multimedia formats. The diversity and
dynamics of technology will not allow African Americans
to stay in the fog of ignorance and cultural self denial.
During many of the presentations rooms of historical
content stored in the minds of scholars like, Joe Tillmon,
President of the Buffalo Soldiers Historical Society,
Johnetta Cole, Director , National Museum of African
Art, and Rodney Hurst Author and Community Activist.
These are just a few of the elders that participated in the
Civil Rights Movements, marches, protests, sit-ins and
other events that helped to establish equality for
Digital tools do not allow history to die, it transforms
to a new life-form. The foundation of African American
history from Africa was on a platform of oral history
(story telling) and musical tonnage. African music through
drums and other instruments can be heard by the examples
of Ryan Sinclair and Ngomathunder It is still seen in the
remnants of elders retelling their accounts of their past,
tech allows their stories to live on.
Technology allows the light of learning to stay bright,
learning is continuous and relevant in its application
keeping the darkness of ignorance away.
The connectivity of Social Media tools brings minds
together and opens doors to collaboration. Platforms
like Twitter to microblog, Youtube and Vimeo to share
video, Photobucket to share photos, Instagram for
photos/video, Tumblr, Skype to connect experts and
sharing of information. A digital synergy allows ASALH
to spread past information to the present and transmit
to the future as it is stored on digital servers making
access global, generational and culturally relevant to
youth who will be the leaders of the future.
The workshops of ASALH were designed to teach factual
information to connect the accomplishments of the past
and its relevancy to the present which will positively
influence the future. There may be generational gaps
in years; technology unites across centuries allowing the
voices of the past to still speak to the generational ears
of the present. Technology allows words from;
Carter G. Woodson, Malcolm X, Asa Phillip Randolph,
Marcus Garvey, Zora Heal Hurston and others to come
back to inspire continued generations in civic action and
My personal participation in and technical support of:
“Dude, Where’s My Movement?
The Intersection of Technology and Historic Preservation”
with Adrena Ifill (DoubleBack Productions, LLC),
Janet Sims Wood (Prince George’s Community College),
D’Shawna Bernard (CBCF Avoice Project) and Lesley Gist
Etheridege (The Gist of Freedom)
incorporated a Skype and multimedia presentation.
This built a multimedia, cross generational presentation
focusing on African American history, resources and integration
having real-time dialogue on the Internet. The first of its kind
at ASALH using Skype, Google Docs, PowerPoint, Facebook,
Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogging and multi-functional
hardware that worked seamlessly. ASALH has provided a
digital doorway to the wisdoms of the past.
If African Americans want to start a real Scandal, parents start
learning about African American History and sharing it with your
children, share it in your communities, share information at your
places of worship and encourage or even demand intellectual
growth along with empowerment at your child’s school using
African American History as a foundation for learning.
Imagine the Scandal it would create if millions of African
Americans know and understood their histories. Blacks would
not allow the false teachings of Europeans to dictate their
interaction in African American homes, schools, communities,
and churches. African Americans would have a united front in
education, family, business, culture, heritage and respect for
the past and a vision for the future. African Americans have
allowed others to dictate their futures, influence their minds,
made decisions in their neighborhoods.
ASALH has opened the doors of knowledge; will African
Americans learn to respect and honor their past so the future
will brighten and have purpose and promise?
Adrena Ifill – @DoubleBackProd
D’Shawna Bernard – @DiasporaDee
Lesley Gist Etheridge – @Gistoffreedom
William Jackson – @WmJackson
Audio Resource on Integration of Technology.
Leslie Gist Etheridge: The Gist of Freedom:
“Underground Railroad & The History of Social Media”
Guest William Jackson,
Social Media Technology and the Integration of
Black History – Quilts In Cyberspace