Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Launch Encarta Africana 2000

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 28, 1999 — In a speech before educators and students, Microsoft Corp. CEO Bill Gates and Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis
“Skip” Gates Jr. today announced the latest version of Microsoft’s award-winning CD-ROM encyclopedia about black history and culture: Encarta® Africana 2000. During a demonstration of the new product, Bill Gates highlighted it as an example of how technology can enhance learning.

“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 a joint effort between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and fellow Harvard professor Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Microsoft. The first version of Encarta Africana received critical acclaim from both educators and technology experts who cited its significance and contribution to people of African descent.

“With the ever-growing influence of African-Americans in society, there has never before been such a need to educate our youth about the many colors and cultures of the people around them,”
said Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“Encarta Africana 2000 is a captivating and engaging resource that can educate students of all ages.”

Within its 3,600 articles, the latest version includes new information and multimedia features that will allow students to learn even more about African culture and history. New this year is the Music Timeline, the Library of Black America and the Civil Rights Chronology.

History in the Making

First inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’ dream to compose an encyclopedia of African history, Microsoft, along with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Appiah, teamed up for a second year to make Du Bois’ dream a reality. The result is an encyclopedia with content that brings the rich history and culture of Africa and people of African descent to life through interactive technology and multimedia.

“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.”

“With today’s multicultural studies, Encarta Africana 2000 is an essential reference tool for school and home libraries,”
said Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“It opens the door for all students of history to the vast experiences of African people.”

Encarta Africana 2000 in the Classroom

With today’s increasing emphasis on multicultural education, Encarta Africana 2000 is an example of how technology can be used to help students gain a new perspective on the world. Students can use the Encarta Research Organizer to identify, collect and organize information about black history and culture for school reports, while K-12 teachers can access lesson plans developed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Appiah. These lesson plans can be found at http://www.encarta.MSN.com/schoolhouse/ .

Encarta Africana 2000 Content Highlights

“Encarta Africana 2000 is an authoritative reference for anyone who desires more information on the history and culture of people of African descent,”
said Susan Kittleson, product manager of the Learning Business Unit at Microsoft.
“With 100 new sidebars, 500 new articles and 800 Web links, this version provides an even greater understanding of the importance of contributions from black people to our world today. The heart and soul that went into this one-of-a-kind encyclopedia is, without question, inspiring.”

Encarta Africana 2000 also features full-color, 360-degree panoramic tours of famous African sites, including the stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe. Each tour is supported with pop-up text boxes about specific elements of the historical sites.

The Africana on Camera video series explores some of the most important topics addressed in Encarta Africana 2000. This exclusive series is a collection of seven interviews with African and African-American authorities, such as Gen. Colin Powell, retired chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff who speaks about the role of
“Blacks in the U.S. Military.”

Encarta Africana 2000 includes closed-captioning, making the product accessible to people with hearing impairments.

Other new features include these:

  • Music Timeline. Users can experience the evolution of African-American music from ragtime to hip-hop. They can scroll through the Music Timeline to hear songs and see rare video clips from legendary musicians like John Coltrane and Miles Davis playing a track from the
    “Kind of Blue”
    album. This time line explores the African-American impact on blues, opera, jazz, rap and other musical genres. Noted musician Quincy Jones consulted on the creation of this time line.

  • Library of Black America. The Library of Black America helps enrich users’ understanding of black history with a collection of novels, slave narratives, poetry and other works written by Africans and African-Americans between 1773 and 1918. Included in the 139 publications is W.E.B. Du Bois’
    “The Souls of Black Folks,”
    as well as many of the author’s columns from Crisis magazine.

  • Civil Rights Chronology. Users can witness defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement, from 1950 to 1968. The chronology depicts 125 key events, including Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus and Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring
    “I Have a Dream”
    speech.

Encarta Africana recently won the Goldmaster Award from Library Talk and The Book Report magazines, for excellence in software for libraries and schools, and Technology & Learning magazine’s Software Excellence Award for School Reference software.

Pricing and Availability

The Encarta Africana 2000 CD-ROM is available for an estimated retail price of $69.95 (U.S.) before a $30 (U.S.) mail-in rebate* and runs on the Microsoft Windows® 95, Windows 98, Windows NT® 4.0 or later operating systems. Volume discounts may apply for schools, colleges and libraries. More information on academic pricing and licensing is available at the Microsoft Education Web site, at http://www.microsoft.com/catalog/display.asp?list=2 & subid=22 . More information on Encarta 2000 reference products is available at http://www.encarta.msn.com/products/ .

Microsoft’s Learning Business Unit designs a line of award-winning multimedia reference products that unleash the educational power of the PC. The complete Encarta line also includes the Encarta Reference Suite 2000, as well as Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, (Standard and Deluxe) Encarta World English Dictionary, Encarta Interactive World Atlas 2000 and Encarta Online Deluxe.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

*Prices are estimated retail prices. Actual retail prices may vary. Rebate is valid with qualifying proofs of purchase in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada only. Offer expires Aug. 31, 2000, or 30 days after the product is acquired, whichever comes first. Limit one rebate per household per title.

Microsoft, Encarta, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. A special password-protected press site is available at http://www.microsoft.com/encarta/ if you are interested in viewing reviewers guides and additional press information.

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