The academic discipline of geography provides the basis for the power of geographic information systems (GIS). Geographer Roger Tomlinson from University College London is considered by many the originator of GIS. As a geography student at Wayne State University in Detroit, I was influenced by geographers like William Bunge, Robert J. Goodman, and Edward Ullman. But I honestly do not recall any Black geography faculty early in my career.
Now the American Geographical Society has published a website to record and chronicle the stories of Twentieth Century Black Geographers. Based on a 2003 anthology of Black geographers by Joe T. Darden and Lucia Terra, which includes a bibliography of selected publications, the AGS project provides a publicly available, single-source database that chronicles the contributions of Black geographers to the discipline of geography. This collection includes photographs and biographies full of illuminating facts.
Take some time to study the profiles included in the Celebrating Black Geographers anthology to appreciate and honor their contribution to the field of geography and to geographic information science and technology.
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Thank you for highlighting this important work. I’m Dr. Dee Jordan, a Black Geographer and Councilmember of the American Geographical Society and the architect behind this project. It makes me feel a since of pride knowing the awareness of these Black Geographers from all over the diaspora are being recognized and new audiences are becoming aware of their contributions to the discipline.