NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 1999 — During a speech to educators and students today, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates and Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr., unveiled Encarta Africana 2000 -- the latest version of Microsoft's award-winning CD-ROM encyclopedia about black history and culture worldwide. Bill Gates gave a demonstration of the new reference work and highlighted it as an example of how technology can enhance learning -- an idea he called on educators to support by ensuring that students have access to technology and that teachers have the training necessary to use technology to help children learn.
"Products like Encarta Africana allow today's students to learn about history and other cultures in new and compelling ways," Bill Gates told more than 600 educators and students at the Juilliard Theater at Lincoln Center Plaza in New York City. "This is a terrific use of technology, because it allows students to broaden their view of the world."
Encarta Africana 2000 is the second version of the multimedia encyclopedia that was developed as a joint effort by Dr. Gates, his fellow Harvard professor Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Microsoft. Using audio, video and the written word, Encarta Africana 2000 spans the globe from Africa to the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia, tracing the effects of the African diaspora and the history and culture of Africa and people of African descent from 4 million BCE to the present.
Encarta Africana was originally conceived to fulfill the lifelong dream of legendary African-American educator W.E.B. DuBois to compose an encyclopedia of African history. Encarta Africana 2000 -- with 500 new articles, 100 new sidebars and 800 Web links for additional research -- is a continuation of that endeavor. Encarta Africana 2000 also features full-color, 360-degree panoramic tours of famous African sites and new multimedia sections such as the Music Timeline, featuring music and rare video clips of legendary musicians such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis, and the Civil Rights Chronology, which depicts 125 defining moments of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
"We continue to reach Du Bois' lifetime goal of educating people around the world on the significance of African people," said Appiah. "Our collaboration with Microsoft has allowed us not only to create an encyclopedia of African history but to provide a visual, audible and readable work that is more current and comprehensive than any other black history reference in existence."