Black Frat Announces Digital Divide Initiative
The Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. announced last month a nationwide project called the “Digital Heritage Initiative” in collaboration with the Microsoft Corp. and Africana.com to provide computer software and educational materials to public elementary, junior high and high schools throughout the country.
Each of the fraternity’s chapters nationwide will donate a copy of the highly acclaimed Africana Encyclopedia to a school in its area. For each copy of the encyclopedia donated by the fraternity, Microsoft will donate 10 copies of Encarta Africana, the CD-ROM multimedia version of the encyclopedia.
Additionally, each of the recipient schools will receive proprietary access to custom learning resources on the Africana.com Web site. The total value of the donation will exceed $100,000.
The Africana Encyclopedia is a one-volume encyclopedia containing a comprehensive collection of African and African American culture and history. Such a resource was a dream of the late African American scholar Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and brought to fruition by Harvard scholars Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah and published by the Microsoft Corp.
Africana.com is a Web site that capitalizes on the spirit and content of the encyclopedia. The site was launched in January 1999 by Dr. Harry M. Lasker in conjunction with Gates and
Rondall James, Iota Phi Theta’s national president, spoke at a ceremony celebrating the grand opening of the fraternity’s international headquarters in Baltimore.
“As an organization dedicated to uplifting our community, we must lead the way in providing the tools and training for our children to achieve success in an increasingly competitive world,” James said. “This initiative is one that has our full focus and commitment, and we welcome the opportunity to lead the charge toward educating our youth.”
Iota Phi Theta is a historically Black national social-service fraternity founded at Morgan State University in 1963. Iota Phi Theta has 180 chapters and more than 17,000 members across the country.
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