For stories of Black history and excellence, check out our Black History Month series. Celebrate with us by sharing your favorite articles on social media and uplifting the stories, lives, and work of Black people.

Protests over George Floyd and police brutality accomplished far more than the charging of the four officers involved. They held up a long-overdue mirror of reckoning in the U.S. and systemically racist practices. Along with shedding light on our flawed police and justice systems, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has begun a socio-cultural awakening. A major part of this awakening is the realization that passively being ‘not racist’ is insufficient; only through being actively anti-racist can we fight these injustices. To keep the momentum of solidarity going, we must incorporate this into our everyday lives. One way to accomplish this is through apps with an anti-racist focus. 

1. Lessons in Herstory

Our history textbooks grossly prioritize male stories, with women’s stories constituting only 11% of U.S. history textbooks. The free Lessons in Herstory app vows to reshape this lens by allowing users to scan textbook images of men to unlock historically relevant stories of women. Otherwise, browse their illustrated directory to read up on forgotten Black women in history like Harriet Powers and Madame C.J. Walker

[Image description: Screenshot of Lessons in Herstory app displaying five important women in history.] Via Lessons in Herstory.

2. StoryCorps

The creators of StoryCorps have a clear agenda: “to preserve and share humanity’s stores in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” The nonprofit organization, based in Brooklyn, as well as its free app, are built for empathy as users have the ability to listen, record, and share stories from all over the world. For more information on oral histories, check out StoryCorps Griot, their initiative to document voices of the African diaspora in the U.S.

[Image description: Screenshot of select interview questions from the StoryCorps app.] Via StoryCorps.

3. Colorful Minds

Colorful Minds is a free app focused on delivering Black history through a no-nonsense interface. Scroll through the home feed to educate yourself on Black history facts or revisit saved figures. Other free Black history apps with similar functions include Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians, Black History Tribute, and Black History Inventors

[Image description: Screenshot of Colorful Minds app displaying info on Harriet Tubman and Reverend Jesse Jackson.] Via Colorful Minds.

4. Everyday Racism

This free app might be the only one of its kind. Everyday Racism aims for the user’s discomfort by immersing the user in simulations of (you guessed it) everyday racism. The challenge unfolds over a seven day period, in which the user receives racist notifications, ranging from tweets to texts, through the perspective of a chosen minority ‘character.’

[Image description: Screenshot of Everyday Racism app displaying an illustration of three POC with the text ‘7 Days experiencing racist texts, tweets, and comments’.] Via Everyday Racism.

5. NMAAHC Mobile Stories

The NMAAHC Mobile Stories app serves as a complementary tool for objects in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), as well as an individual educational tool for users to learn about the Black history behind the museum’s collections. The learning experience is amplified by zoomable maps, social media sharing features, and video/AR features.

[Image description: Screenshot of NMAAHC Mobile Stories app displaying image results for the search term ‘Civil Rights’.] Via NMAAHC Mobile Stories.

With these five free apps in tow, you’re on your way to incorporating anti-racism into your daily thoughts and habits—one of the first steps in dismantling the oppressive systems that called for these apps’ creation. Expanding your anti-racist awareness doesn’t have to end here either; spread the word to friends and family because anti-racist technology should be on everyone’s radar. 

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  • Shannon Zheng

    Shannon Zheng is a multidisciplinary artist and designer studying Art & Design and Philosophy at the University of Michigan. She is interested in channeling art as a form of intervention, whether it be through constructing visual narratives to promote social change or designing confrontationally through an activist lens.