Frequently Asked Questions About Blackpast.Org

Detail of Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Boston
Photo by Peter Walton

What is ( is the largest free and unrestricted website on African American history currently on the Internet. Founded on February 1, 2007 in Seattle, Washington, the site now has over 10,000 pages of information. Click here to see the Mission Statement.

What are the major features of
The website has an online encyclopedia with entries that average 500 words. These entries are meant to be introductions to individuals, events, and episodes profiled. There are always sources at the end of each entry listing other works that should be consulted for more detailed information. The website also has a series of Perspectives articles that explore various aspects of African American history and the history of people of African ancestry around the world. These articles are written by experts in the field or by contributors who knew individuals associated with a significant event. The other major features of the website are outlined here.

How is the data on organized and presented?
The website is divided into three major sections on African American History (AAH), African American History in the American West (AAW), and Global African History (GAH). Click here for an organizational guide to the website.

The online encyclopedia is the heart of the website. How are encyclopedia entry subjects determined
The website director in consultation with the Advisory Board, a group of fifteen noted scholars in U.S., African, and African American history, determines the historical significance of a subject.

How does a potential contributor know if a possible entry is historically significant?
Each subject profiled must have a demonstrated historical influence. The person, event, or episode must have had a clearly evident impact on African America, the United States, or the world.

Who can write for
Anyone who is at least 18 years of age and is enrolled in or has graduated from an institution of higher education is eligible to contribute entries to Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. The criteria for submitting Perspective articles is more restricted. The contributor must possess a specialized academic knowledge or an extensive personal familiarity with the subject of the article.

May one volunteer to write for
Yes. We ask however that you be willing not only to write on an individual or event you feel should be on the website but also on other potential entries related to that subject.

How many people have volunteered to write for
As of August 1, 2012, nearly 500 people have contributed entries or Perspectives articles to These volunteers are from six continents. Please click here for a list of the volunteers.

Is there any financial compensation for writing for
No. All contributors are volunteers.

How are entries and articles evaluated?
All submissions by contributors are reviewed by the website director and on occasion by members of the Advisory Board. Each entry or article is also reviewed by copy editors to ensure they are grammatically and stylistically acceptable.

What are the guidelines for writing an entry for
Please click on this link.

What are the guidelines for writing a Perspectives article for
Please click on this link

Is it possible for individual contributors or other users to edit or modify an entry that is already posted?
No. Posted entries or articles can be modified only by the website director.

Where can I find a list of all the Features of

Please click on this link.

What is the easiest way to find specific information included on the website?
Type a name or word in the Search Bar located on the upper left hand corner of the each page of the website.

Is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation?
Yes. was recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit corporation on March 28, 2008. Please contact the website director if you wish to see the letter of determination. is also profiled on GuideStar, the world’s largest non-profit screening house.
All donations to are tax deductible. Please click here if you wish to make a donation.

Who are the members of the Board of Directors of
Click here for a list of board members.

Who administers is managed by a team of volunteers. They are assisted by compensated individuals called the Support Team. Please click here to see the list of volunteer staff and here for the Support Team.

What is the size of the audience?
The total number of visits to In 2011 was 2,870,568. To date in 2012 has averaged 250,000 visits per month.

What is the history of the website?
Please click here for the story.

Revised August 9, 2012