Albert White belongs at the top of the list
Add him to the list.
Erasmus Hall High School has had many noted graduates. Perhaps topping the list – Barbra Streisand; followed by Neil Diamond, Stephanie Mills, Will Downing, Kedar Massenburg, Clive Davis, Eli Wallach, Susan Hayward, Jeff Chandler, basketball legend and founder of the Miami Head- Billy Cunningham, former owner of the Oakland Raiders – the late Al Davis, Bobby Fisher – Chess Grandmaster and owner, founder of Black Enterprise Magazine; Earl Graves.
Add Albert E. White to that list.
The only problem: what category!
White was of the top six or seven basketball players in New York City – he played for Erasmus from ’61 to ‘64. “I was the captain of the 1964 team,” White told the Eagle, “And assisted in putting together the ’65 team. My leadership was important to making it possible for the 1965 City Championship.
“I had an offer to Michigan State,” he said, “but chose the University of Denver.”
Following his graduation from Denver, he was invited to the New York Knicks rookie camp.
And there was the fork in the road.
“Instead of continuing my basketball career,” said the kid who grew up off Bedford Avenue in Flatbush, “I decided to pursue an MBA degree in Finance from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.”
But basketball soon became the distant past, Albert E. White is considered the Pioneer of the development of the Internet. “The greatest technology of our times,” as he calls it.
It was on the campus of the University of Denver – in 1964 – White met Emmit McHenry.
McHenry later served as Chief Executive Officer and Albert White, the Vice-President of Corporate Communications for the company that first introduced the Internet to the public – not just the United States, but around the world in 1993.
The company: Network Solutions.
And, the original Network Solutions was an African American owned and operated business.
Imagine that – this company today has some 4.2 billion global users, more than half of the world’s population – and growing.
“I was one of the first persons to promote the Internet’s global importance and use of its technology,” White said.
“Equal access,” says White, “was of great concern to various communities during the early days of the Internet.”
The founding owners, according to White, sold the company at the beginning of the Internet explosion for less than $5 million. “Five years later,” he said, “it was recognized as the largest sale of a technology company at that time, exceeding $20 billion.”
Albert E. White, basketball star turned author, penned Race for the Net. He shares some of his 30 years of business experience as an advisor to some of the most successful CEOs in the country, with his unique ability to understand the direction of future technologies.
“We need to become more cohesive as a community and invest in businesses even when we do not fully understand the technology,” he wrote, “we need to rely on the experience of those dreamers in our community.”
Network Solutions opened the door to the world that has changed lives forever and created enormous economic wealth today and for the future.
“The fact that an African American company was the first company to introduce and control the Internet more than 25 years ago is a tremendous accomplishment for our community,” White wrote in his Race for the Net.
That year, 1993 – was when access to the Internet was opened to the global community through a contract awarded to a minority-owned business by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency of the U.S. government.
“They were assigned the task of creating the platform of infrastructure to allow the general public, for the first time, around the world to have access to the Internet. It was the experience and knowledge of the owners and employees of this African American company that made it possible for people around the world to travel on the information superhighway – Internet,” White wrote.
As for his book: “I wrote the book,” he said, “to tell the story of how this amazing technology was initially introduced to the world and who was directly responsible for this global feat.”
It was the kid who was knocking down jump shots at Erasmus Hall High School.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be contacted at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR
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