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TheGrio Keeping Black History Alive is a series that delves into the rich tapestry of Black history, both past and present, to shine a spotlight on often overlooked gems and unsung heroes. From the iconic “Negro Kiss” to the revolutionary impact of Sesame Street, and the trailblazing achievements of contemporary figures like Marques Brownlee and Jackie Aina, each episode unveils a compelling chapter of Black experience.

Jerry Lawson: Inspiring Gaming Pioneer

Feb. 29, 2024 – 01:38 – This year for Black History Month, TheGrio celebrates the Black Pioneers whose contributions to their field shaped society for the better. We continue to Keep Black History Alive by celebrating Jerry Lawson, the father of modern gaming. Jerry Lawson grew up in Queens, New York and tinkered with electronics at an early age. He’s rumored to have repaired television sits around his neighborhood. He attended Queens College and the City College of New York before starting his career in Silicon Valley– where he was one of few Black engineers. Lawson joined a camera and semiconductor company, Fairchild Semiconductor in 1970. In the mid-1970s, Jerry Lawson led the team that developed the first home gaming system with interchangeable game cartridges. This would allow users to buy a library of games. His innovation, the Fairchild Channel F Console, changed video games forever. Although the Channel F wasn’t commercial successful, the cartridge approach was popularized with the Atari 2600 release in 1977. During the 1980s, Lawson started his own company, Video Soft, the first Black-owned video game development company. The company made software for the Atari 2600 in the early 1980s.

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Jerry Lawson: Inspiring Gaming Pioneer

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