journal   >   20150228-Black-Earth-Group-Story  

The Story of Black Earth Group

2015-02-28; published 2021-12-05

If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars? —G. K. Chesterton

Quite a few people have asked me, “Why Black Earth?” The excellent Chesterton quote would be a good reason, but that’s only a post hoc reason.

By 2004, I had spent several years working as an editor and publishing tool maker, and he had done a couple of software development projects for non-profits. Always living at the intersection of publishing and technology, I was also noticing the poor quality of many of the published materials available for homeschooling.

At that time, I was thinking about starting an educational publishing company. I needed a cool name. So, taking a cue from my employer at the time, I was looking for the name of a Protestant Reformer who could be associated with education (much as William Tyndale can be associated with Bible translation). I ran across a fellow named Philipp Melanchthon, who was a systematic theologian and educational reformer in the Lutheran Reformation. Cool guy, but the name? “Melanchthon Press” wasn’t doing it for me. In fact, it seemed kind of dorky. But as I did a little digging, I discovered something: Melanchthon wasn’t his real name. Martin Luther apparently suggested he use the name Melanchthon, which is Greek, because Luther thought Philipp’s German name was dorky (or at least, not erudite-sounding enough). Now, Philipp’s German family name was Schwartzerd, which also doesn’t have much appeal in English. But it means “Black Earth.” And when I saw that, I thought, “Wow, cool name! That’s it.” So I started thinking about starting Black Earth Press.

The time wasn’t ripe in 2004 for Black Earth Press, but I did start doing software consulting and development on the side using the business name Black Earth Group.

At the beginning of 2014, I incorporated Black Earth Group, Inc., setting the business up for maturation and growth.

On February 28, 2015, I became the first full-time employee of Black Earth Group, Inc. H