Portfolio 10

This week we went further into data mapping, and how the analyzing can change the historical questions we ask and how we understand the past. The two websites we critique were ‘The Spread of Slavery’ which allow the user to scroll through the spread of slavery in the US from roughly 1790 to the end of the Civil War. Using the drop bar graph, one is able to see the total slave population in states and some territories, and then change the graph to show the total free population even total population. The drop bar allows users to create many types of narrative. For myself, I found a relationship on the locations where slavery was most common. As slavery spread westward it became centralized along major commercialized locations. Mostly the east coast and along the Mississippi river. In southern states slavery seemed to most profitable in these locations which would lead to huge rise in the slave population. Overall, I found this website to be very effective in being capable of creating multiple narratives. One might possibly find a pattern on where freed slaves population would tend to be centralized, and whether those locations gave freed slaves higher standards of living.

The other digital map website was ‘Visualizing Emancipation.’ This website to me wasn’t as effective in its narrative telling as the previous website. For myself I think one has to have a set narrative they are going to study before diving into this digital map. The map is huge bundle of information, but it would be difficult to create narrative by just scrolling through. However, if focus on just South Caroline you might be able to effectively create a narrative on Emancipation. The digital map does do a good job in recognizing its own pitfalls. If one goes into the methods of the map, one can see how they recognize that there is a degree of uncertainty on the placement of these events. Though, if one ignores reading these methods, they might lack the understanding on how complex Emancipation events were. With each one of those red dots possibly representing ten distinct kind of events.

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