Dorothy Geraldine Counts, 15 (left) is followed by a crowd of jeering teenagers as she leaves Harding high school with her escort, Dr R.A. Hawkins, 4th September 1957

This Fantastic App Takes on the Erasure of Black History With Guided Tours

As members of the GOP continue to silence efforts to educate our society on Black history, it’s increasingly fallen on community initiatives to step up and provide a proper education ourselves. I’m pleased to have an opportunity to share one such effort: that of changemaker Kimberly Renee’s newest app, Black in Time.

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The app, developed entirely without VCs, was made in response to the likes of Ron Desantis and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who claimed that Black history was simply “woke” history. Black in Time is something of a personal walking tour, providing a specialized lens into various landmarks in American cities to be played whilst exploring said cities. It’s really pretty cool, even in its early stages.

Thus far, the only city featured is Charlotte, North Carolina, which I knew little about to begin with. This tour proved to be an incredibly comprehensive, in-depth, fascinating experience just to listen to; I can only imagine how it must feel to listen to it while walking around Charlotte!

Black in Time’s tours are organized in sections, corresponding with landmarks that the guided tour wants you to go through in order (often commemorative plaques and building sites). Like a museum headset guide, you play each section as is appropriate. The sections themselves are produced like the highest-quality history podcasts, with Renee’s voice coming through clearly and strongly, and with the audio production overall being incredibly engaging, creative, and easy to listen to.

The historical content is as sobering and informative as it ought to be, and Renee’s writing talents shine through in how direct her storytelling approach is. Conveniently, each section also features its full written script, in case you want to read along while walking.

As for the stories that Renee focuses on, as a historian myself, I can say that they fill out the city’s character and past in a way that’s masterfully evocative. Renee covers every single aspect that needs to be told, concisely and precisely. From the colonization of the land that would later be known as Charlotte, to the injustices lodged against the Brooklyn neighborhood (which no longer exists), and ending on the importance of intentionally sustaining communities of color, Renee has painted a picture of Charlotte that’s phenomenally comprehensive.

In total, Black in Time is an app I’m really excited to follow, and it’s my hope that Renee will get enough support to create tours of each major city in the U.S. and then some. This kind of multimedia content is incredibly rewarding to listen to, and it’s educational in the ways that matter most. If you’re at all a fan of history podcasts, interested in learning more about Black history, or even just an avid reader of Black literature, I heartily recommend giving this app a try.

(featured image: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty images)


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Author
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).