Afrolink Software, founded by Kamal Al Mansour, a 31-year-old lawyer who runs the business from his home in Washington State, produces a variety of programs that present African-American perspectives on history and culture.
Mr. Al Mansour also produces two on-line services of interest to precollegiate educators.
The first is CPTime On-Line, whose title, he says, pokes fun at the colloquial expression "Colored People's Time," or the stereotype that African-Americans are chronically tardy.
The service provides current and historical information about Africa and the United States, as well as Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean.
The other--B.B.B., or Black Bulletin Board--provides a forum for computer users to exchange information about issues of interest to black people.
Although the bulletin boards are readily available to schools equipped with modems and microcomputers, Mr. Al Mansour said, precollegiate educators, who often are technologically unsophisticated, have yet to take advantage of the services.
Nonetheless, some districts are already using Afrolink's software products.
The Compton (Calif.) Unified School District, for example, has bought more than 50 copies of CPTime Clip Art, which contains graphics related to historical and contemporary black culture.
It has been popular, Mr. Al Mansour said, because "it allows instructors who may not be computer literate to put together a lesson plan very easily."
Afrolink also produces "Who We Are," a software program that contains 250 questions and answers about black civilizations.
Mr. Al Mansour, whose mother was a teacher, said he expects the current movement toward the adoption of "Afro-centric curricula" by districts in such cities as Atlanta; Portland, Ore; and Camden, N.J., to increase the demand for his products.
Accordingly, he is slightly revamping his development strategy, which previously focused on Apple Computer's Macintosh, a machine that is scarce in schools.
And he plans to produce versions of his products for the more-common Apple II computer.
He also expects to gain an entree into the school market as a result of Apple's recent unveiling of a new, and cheaper, line of Macintosh computers.
More information is available from Afrolink Software, P.O. Box 59149, Renton, Wash. 98050; (206) 277-6497.--PW
Vol. 10, Issue 10