Freedom Rider of the Cutting Edge honored by gamers

Gerald A. “Jerry” Lawson will be recognized by Blacks in Gaming on Wednesday, March 2 at the W Hotel in San Francisco and by the diversity committee of the International Game Developers Association on Friday, March 4 for his accomplishment as developer of the fChannel, the first video game console in the 1970s.
Lawson is one of the pioneers featured in Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge, a documentary about early African-American innovators in the computer industry from the 1950s to 1980s.
The Queens native was manager of engineering for the video division of Fairchild Semiconductor in the 1970s and later formed his own company, Videosoft, to make games for Atari and other consoles.
A 1985 article in Black Enterprise gave some of Lawson’s thoughts about succeeding in corporate America.
Yet, he has been relatively obscured in the annals of the fast growing industry.
Joseph Saulter, chair of the diversity committee of IGDA, said he was overcome with tears to learn about Lawson’s pioneering feats, to know that an African-American had been so instrumental in the industry.
Lawson still lives in Sunnyvale and when we visited him in 2009 to tape the documentary was still busy inventing a variety of projects.

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