The 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans

On April 4, 2003, EarthLink announced a partnership with MOBE (Marketing Opportunities in Business and Entertainment) to present The 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans.

That partnership was apparently initiated to support an effort started by EarthLink who, in 2002, announced the first 100 Best Websites for African Americans.

I learned of the list via an little tri-fold flyer I received in the mail (image on right) from EarthLink.  There was nothing special about the mailing.  There was no raised lettering, no embossed envelope or fanfare — just your average piece of junk mail that I would have normally thrown away were it not for the neat little list of websites.

The EarthLink/MOBE effort did not last very long.  The last record of the list I found was on EarthLink’s website from January 2006 (courtesy of  the Wayback Machine).  The Mobe website (mobe.com) has been out of commission since 2008 and was not updated after 2006.

By today’s standards, in a world with a bazillion websites and ultra fast search engines, a list like this seems almost quaint.  Or so one would think…

Last night I decided to visit each of the original (from the 2002 list) 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans.  Here is some of what I discovered:

  • 42 of the websites are no longer active
  • Of the inactive sites Africana.com and BlackVoices.com have been absorbed by the Huffington Post.  (Honestly, I think this is really jacked up, but that is a topic of another blog post)
  • Another inactive site’s domain (black movie dot com) was reclaimed. by a pornographer.
  • Of the 58 sites still alive, 5 have not been updated a very long time.
  • One site not updated in a long time is Melanet.com “The Uncut Black Experience!” the site is over 17 years old and is one of first Black oriented websites I recall seeing.
  • NiaOnline.com (a really smart well designed Blog) has announced: “…as of Nov. 1, 2011 we will not longer be publishing the blog or newsletter in its current format.”  Keep your eye out for something good from Nia Enterprises

Many of the remaining websites don’t look very different from when they were launched, while others have kept up with the times and seem to be doing quite well.

The sites do however have one thing in common, something to be proud of, they (we) have all withstood the test of time.

Of course, since this list was first published in 2002, many things have changed on the World Wide Web.  One change I’ve observed is that mission driven sites, like most of the ones on the list, are being supplanted by websites driven purely by profit.

One consequence of the predominance of profit driven sites is the most popular “Black” websites are no longer Black owned and are controlled by huge corporate whose interests do not serve Black people very well.  This results in the voices of independent Black owned sites being crowded out.

Mission driven, Black owned sites exist — they are just harder to find.  This is one reason I launched a new search engine called Huria Search.  To read more about why I created Huria Search, click here.

Below is the last version of the The 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans.  I believe it is from 2006.  I wonder what websites would be included on a 2012 list and who would own them?

EarthLink partnered with MOBE to present The 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans
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About Troy

Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of AALBC.com, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, AALBC.com has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.
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  • Rudolph Lewis

    Such a list, I suppose is important. I have made a list of sites on ChickenBones: A Journal. But they were listed rather randomly without categorizing and ranking them and withou checking back whether they were still in existence. That’s probably work for a graduate assistant. http://www.nathanielturner.com/chickenboneslinks.htm

    But this list of “100 Top” suggest ranking on an unclear basis. ChickenBones: A Journal http://www.nathanielturner.com has been in existence since 2001. The site was very important in covering the Flooding of New Orleans (2005). The site is so significant in its archival and unabailable materials that cannot be found easily that the content is collected by the Library of Congress http://www.nathanielturner.com/chickenbonesajournalashistoricwebsite.htm

    The “Top 100″ does not indicate the significance of Kalamu ya Salaam and his Breath of Life (2005) http://www.kalamu.com/bol and “E-Drum and other activities and Esther Iverem and her http://www.seeingblack.com (probably in existence before 2001) and the impact they have had on the black internet world. The list thus is damn near worthless in a true estimation of the Black Net. Loving you madly, Rudy

  • http://aalbc.com Troy

    Rudy,

    Forget the list. It was a distraction that obscured my main points.

    A little background: I actually stumbled across the list looking for links to add to the Huria Search engine’s index. From previous conversations you know, Huria Search (http://huria.org) is an effort to help people discover content generated by Black people, without the commercial influence, celebrity scandal, paid placement or SEO games.

    At any rate, I check each site before adding it to Huria Search. It was during this analysis that I discovered that the majority of the websites from the 2002 list were out of commission or no longer being updated. I was so surprised by what I found I decided to Blog about it.

    While I did not attempt to find out why each site died, I do know that they all faced the challenges you and I face everyday. I also wanted to point out that those challenges are greater today than ever before.

    In a similar vein, I just took a look at your page of links. I found 93 sites to add to Huria Search! There were several interesting sites including several outside the US that I will revisit.

    As you thought many of the URL have changed, but most are redirected.

    These were the only sites that were down completely.

    northstar.vassar.edu
    bdcny.net
    blackbritain.co.uk
    blackissues.com
    capoeira.org
    CrayonPeople.com
    everygeneration.co.uk
    globalblacknews.com
    mynameisneworleans.com
    profitinside.com
    sankofarestorationproject-inc.com
    thecaribbeanwriter.com
    thisweekghana.com
    unitedafricanartists.com

  • Beverly Leonardd

    Greetings:, Troy
    I am Beverly Leonard, “The Poet with a Message.” I pray that all is well with you. I sent my book of poetry entitled “Come Inside” to aalbc a while ago for a “free” review. I never heard back from you guys. I would have liked to hear from you either way. Is there any way you can locate and look up my book? I would really appreciate it. I’m waiting to be discovered. I know, keep waiting. Right? No, really … The book is great and is blessing those who peruse it. Shout out for my book! Please contact me soon. Book 2 is looking really good. He is good! Love and Peace.
    Beverly Leonard

    • http://aalbc.com Troy

      Hi Beverly, I got your message yesterday. As you can image we get tons of requests for book reviews. In fact that is why, in our instructions http://aalbc.it/freereview we tell people to send us an email with a description of their book, not the physical book, when requesting a “free” review.

      Indeed even with the fee based reviews we purchase the book on-line or obtain an electronic versions the only time we have books mailed to us from the author or publisher is if it is a galley.

      Regarding your specific book: It has not crossed my desk. Drop me an email troy@aalbc.com or reply to this comment with the addressed you mailed it to.