Welcome to my blog about the intersection between race and technology. There are a number of topics I wish to explore, though not necessarily in this order:
In this blog, I’ll also be writing about my father. Now, that may seem strange in a blog about race and technology, but my father, John Stanley Ford, was the first Black software engineer in America, hired by IBM in 1946. He went to work for the company in 1947, and in his 37 years with IBM he faced many of the same roadblocks, obstacles, and issues that Blacks, and people of color, face in high-tech today.
I also worked as a software engineer for IBM, where I, too, faced similar issues as a Black employee. It’s my hope that this personal perspective on race and technology, will not only allow me to shed light on the matter, but also offer solutions and share insights through stories of my father’s time, and mine, at the one of America’s premier technology firms.
I’ll begin my blog posts in late July in time to commemorate August 2019, the centennial of my father’s birth, and the quadricentennial of the arrival of the first Africans in bondage to the shores of Virginia. While it may seem strange to juxtapose these two events, the 1619 arrival of the first Africans to America says as much about the intersection of race and technology as does my father’s role as the first black software engineer hired by IBM. But you’ll have to wait for my first blog post to find out why.
One other thing I’ll be treating you with in these blog posts is geo-enrichment. Whenever you see a location underlined in green, you can click on that location and fly-in to it with Google Earth. Geo-enrichment is a unique feature of my blogs. So, for example, click on the following green, underlined link and have a look at the house I grew-up in at 760 E. 221st Street, Bronx, New York City.
Clyde W. Ford is an award-winning author, lecturer, activist and owner of a small software firm. He’s been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey and on numerous public radio programs over the years. Clyde’s a former IBM employee whose latest book THINK BLACK (Harper Collins, 2019) tells the story of his father, John Stanley Ford, the first Black software engineer in America. Portions of this blog are excerpted from THINK BLACK which is available online from HarperCollins or Amazon.