IT Management: IBM and Black History: Innovation Through Diversity

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-02-18 Email Print this article Print
IBM celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and in that 100 years, the company known as Big Blue has been a strong advocate for equal opportunity. Indeed, IBM began pushing for equal opportunity and promoting African-American interests in the 1940s when the company donated money to the United Negro College Fund and hired its first black salesman—a coveted white-collar position. Not only was IBM a pioneer in the tech world in terms of hiring and promoting blacks, but also Big Blue's efforts in this area preceded most of corporate America. In the early 1950s, IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson Jr. made it a company policy to hire people based on their ability, regardless of race, color or creed. And he did so before key Supreme Court decisions and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prompted other companies to follow suit. Early on, Watson saw what leaders like current IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano and Microsoft founder and former CEO Bill Gates have called on the government for help with today—the need for the IT industry to find qualified people and to get them wherever they are. The difference is that back then, the issue was integration. Today, it is immigration. As this slide show will attest, IBM has a rich history of diversity, and as February is Black History Month, eWEEK is taking this opportunity to single out IBM, both for its centennial as well as for its contributions to Black History.

IBM and Black History: Innovation Through Diversity

by Darryl K. Taft
IBM and Black History: Innovation Through Diversity
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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