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Milwaukee woman creates app to teach Black History

"Part of having a good life for an African American is having pride in who you are"
Blackistory app
Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 20:26:03-05

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MILWAUKEE — A year ago Deborah Blanks, along with her son Geraud and his wife Element, launched the 'Blackistory' app.

It all started with Deborah working to provide the best life possible for her son as he was growing up.

"Part of having a good life for an African American is having pride in who you are and where you come from," Blanks said.

Originally, she started working on a African American History textbook, but realized that wasn't the direction she wanted to take. So she turned that manuscript into a bunch of questions her son ended up studying. She said he would get so excited about the questions that he would use to quiz her. In seeing his excitement, she wanted to find a way to share it with more people.

"You can't just do something for you own child if you're not willing at times to make sure other children, other families have that same opportunity," she said.

That's when Blanks teamed up with her son and daughter-in-law to create 'Blackistory.' The app quizzes users not only on historical figures and movements, but also on people making history today.

"When they go in the app they'll find a lot of questions broken down into ten categories, from African to diaspora to quotations, inventions, individual achievements," Blanks said.

Users can just use the app to practice and test their knowledge, or can turn it into more of a competition with timed and scored versions.

Eventually, Blanks hopes teachers will be able to use it to teach Black History in schools.

"Teachers might be interested, but not know how to or not have to figure out how does this work in my class, my curriculum," Blanks said.

She said she also dreams of one day having an "African American History Bowl," where students from different schools would compete for prizes.

"I want to incentivize the idea of learning. So I want people to compete and actually go through a learning bowl where they can compete for prizes."

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