‘Your history begins with you’: Angela Ford

Angela Ford begins her TEDx Talk by describing her childhood and community: “We lived our lives like the kids in fun movies.” 

“I grew up in an all-Black neighbourhood, in the south side of Chicago. My experience in my community didn’t change, but the descriptions of my community changed.” 

She talks about how the media describes her community and how, instead of the media, “we have the power to control how we see ourselves”. 

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She says, “I decided to describe my community. It’s important that we not only share the big stories, but the little stories too.” She speaks about how the digital world needs to be filled with images of positivity, love, laughter and accuracy. 

“My journey started when I was looking for images of my grandmother’s charm school in our black newspaper. The newspaper no longer had the archivist on staff so I was guided to this little archive room, where they thought there would be about 10,000 images. My teammate and I found over 250,000 beautiful images in that same room,” she explains. 

“So it became my life’s mission that everybody should see images like these. So we’ve partnered with newspapers, institutions and others to share what our elders knew was important enough to save,” she says. “In this metaverse, we need to not just share the 5 minutes of a bad act that has happened.” 

She emphasises on how there needs to be more positive images on the internet, instead of the bad images and events being reinforced. She urges how we must follow positive people and positive groups from other communities on our social media. “You can shape your own algorithm. You don’t have to suffer a barrage of negativity,” she says. 

“Your history begins with you. You can draw knowledge and strength and energy from your own history.” She further talks about how one can talk to the elders of your own own family, share your life with the people young and old in your own circles. 

“Learn about yourself, learn about your community, and when you do — digitise it. And share it with the world,” she concludes. 

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