Black History Month: Emmit McHenry, the Dot Com Creator

black history month emmit mchenry

 

In honor of Black History Month, we’re celebrating some of the most iconic black innovators in technology.

The internet created a whole new world of digital possibilities. Emmit McHenry created the internet.

Emmitt McHenry was born a preacher’s grandson in Forrest City, Arkansas in 1943. Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, McHenry graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and went on to receive his B.S. in communications from the University of Denver in 1966. He soon after enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps where he attained the rank of lieutenant.

Upon graduating with his M.S. in communications from Northwestern University, McHenry and a few associates started an engineering company called Network Solutions. 16 years into their successful venture, they were awarded a contract with the U.S. Government that would turn their company into a legacy.

After the government received and reviewed several proposals, Network Solutions was granted the contract with the National Science Foundation to create and manage the world’s first domain name registration service. Back then, the internet’s commercial potential hadn’t yet been realized. It wasn’t until Emmit McHenry created a complex code which allowed any person the ability to search the internet and use email services without having to have studied and be knowledgeable in computer programming. McHenry did the work for us, officially creating what we now know as the .com, .net, .edu, and .gov – allowing us to communicate through the internet.

McHenry is an inventor, an engineer, an entrepreneur, a veteran, and a trailblazer. His honors include an Honorary Doctorate from Shaw University, the Marine Corps Sunset Parade Guest of Honor, and the Chairman’s Award from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Foundation. He remains the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of NetCom Solutions International, Inc., – and Chairman of Archura, LLC, co-founded by his son.