I recommend Charlton D. McIlwain’s academic-lite book Black Software, published in 2020.

The book is a US-centric history split into two halves: the first describes the role of black culture in shaping the social and technical development of the emerging Internet; the second describes how computing technology was developed to keep black Americans “disproportionately disadvantaged”. “Two versions of black software—the kind that positively impacts black people’s lives, and the kind that destroyed them.”

Here’s a teaser from the first chapter, at Clemson University. (Thanks to its high-school preparatory workshop “designed to attract students of color to engineering”, by the mid-1980s Clemson “was producing a sizable proportion of the country’s black engineering graduates”.) Workshop participant Derrick Brown described the environment on campus with a story:

Whenever something would happen on campus, they would always run the same composite sketch in the school newspaper. And that person was always obviously a person of color, obviously male, and obviously the same person. I’m not joking! It was always the same drawing.

To draw attention to that, the black students got together and took the newspaper hostage. They learned all the drop-off points for the weekly distribution, and they just followed the delivery trucks. And every time the delivery truck dropped a stack, they’d pick that stack up. They got some megaphones and had a press conference standing on the stack of newspapers. All this to say, we at least need a better artist drawing these sketches. ‘Cuz it’s not the same person committing all of these crimes!

McIlwain concludes the story: “By the end of the month, Ms. Jennifer Brown became the first black editor” of the student newspaper.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend the book.