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Introducing Black [Data] History: A Curated Timeline from National to Here (1900–2019)

In commemoration of Black History Month, Data Services created a Black [Data] History timeline that highlights the accomplishments of individuals in STEM with an emphasis on data science-related fields (i.e. analysis, curation, management, visualization, geospatial, and storage). Individuals were chosen from the impact they have had on the national or international level to the impact they have had on the local scale, in particular, St. Louis and WashU.

Photo portrait of Katherine Johnson. Johnson is in a collared blouse and horned-rimmed glasses.

Notable figures highlighted in the time are W.E.B. DuBois who created various data visualizations on his studies on African-American communities and the most recently departed  (08/26/1918-02/24/2020) Katherine Johnson who was responsible for the math behind a number of NASA operations. 

Individuals who have made an impact on the WashU level include Harriett Green who became the Associate University Librarian for the Digital Scholarship and Technology Services Division and Odis Johnson who established the Institute of Critical Quantitative, Computational, and Mixed Methodologies. 

This timeline is a living timeline and is a work in progress. Information will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the depth of the black contribution to the various aspects of data.

We are also currently soliciting contributions to the timeline. If you feel that your work or another individual’s scope of work is relevant to this timeline, then please fill out this form. There will also be a pop-up exhibition on the first floor of Olin Library starting on February 25th.

Special thanks to Rudolph Clay, African & African-American Studies and Urban Studies librarian, for his assistance on this project.