Amazon's ‘Alexa’ to Celebrate Black History Month

Thursday, February 09, 2017 Written by 
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By Angel Johnson, Contributing Writer


Amazon is celebrating Black History Month with help from Alexa. The voice-controlled personal assistant, used to perform such home tasks as dimming lights, is apparently able to give lessons on black history as well.


All users need to say is  “Alexa, tell me black history facts.” The device has approximately one hundred facts about black history. Users can ask questions about various people and time frames dating back to the 1800’s. 


Sebastian Blissett is the engineer who developed Alexa’s new skill.  He said people in his department were passionate about combining black history and technology.


Some of the facts are narrated by Amazon employees.  Other voices include African Americans who have made history in the U.S., like Clayton Petrie and Roger Craig. Petrie is one of the first African American Marines to fight in World War II. He served as a Montford Point Marine on a segregated base. 


His unit was deployed to Okinawa, Japan as a decoy for forces who took over the south end of the island. After the war, he was sent to China to supervise the evacuation of Japanese troops. When he returned to the U.S., he was honorably discharged and is still recognized for his work today.  


Roger Craig was a running back in the 1980’s, who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. During his time in the NFL, Craig was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams.   He was named the NFL “Offensive Player Of The Year” in 1988. Craig also participated in many marathons. In 2014, he helped found the San Jose Rock ‘N Marathon.


Amazon customers can download the Alexa app. They will also be able to use the feature well after February is over. 





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