Kicking off black history month with Lauren Williams co-founder and CEO of (Capital B) on why We need News for and by black people.

let’s find out more about CEO Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams is the co-founder and CEO of Capital B, a new nonprofit media company dedicated to news for Black audiences. Capital B launched on January 31st, with both a national news site and a local newsroom dedicated to Atlanta — and the company plans to expand to more cities over time.

This interview is a little looser and chattier than usual since Lauren used to be the editor-in-chief and senior vice president of The Verge’s sister site, We were co-workers for a long time, and we’re still friends. So while I did my best to ask all the Decoder questions, we might have made each other laugh a little more than usual.

I wanted to know why Lauren decided to go and found a startup, what the last year of building that startup ahead of launch has been like, and how she thinks about standing out in a media business where the pressures of social media and search traffic kind of make everything look the same. And, of course, I wanted to know how she plans to grow. Now that she’s the CEO, how is she making decisions about Capital B’s path forward?

Lauren was just on the podcast Recode Media with Peter Kafka, where she talked in more detail about the editorial vision for Capital B. That conversation is great, and you should listen to it, but it’s not what we talked about. I wanted to spend more time on, well, Decoderstuff: being a founder, raising money, and making decisions. Lauren is a really sharp leader, and I think you’re going to like this one.

follow up on the story and more of Lauren Williams at

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane and find out a little more about when, why and how Black History Month came about.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

Origins of Black History Month

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. 

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

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