War Poems: Critical race theory and database narrative in digital public histories

Description (in English): 

This public research/community project explores the use of database narrative in the process of “counter-storytelling” using oral history and Critical Race Theory (CRT) in a public history touch-table project. The research is based on a case study of an ongoing digital humanities project at the historic Kimball African American War Memorial Building, built by black veterans of WWI in 1928 in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. The Kimball Project’s aim has been to further develop the significance of the renovated Kimball African American Memorial, which was once a vibrant center of local community life for all ethnicities and races. A central goal of the project is to create an identity as a national treasure and unique destination for historical tourism through the innovative use of digital information technology. One of the objectives of the project has been to involve the community in telling their own historical narratives using iPhone and iPod-based mobile journalism tools for incorporation into the Memorial’s exhibits, digital content, and to upload these stories to the Memorial website. The focus of this presentation is the research, development and design of an interactive, database narrative-driven touch table experience physically located in the Memorial’s exhibition space, as well as an interactive website. The database narrative uses a rare book discovered in the process of research and collection of artifacts and documents – a book of social protest poetry, entitled War Poems, written by two young black women, sisters Ada Tessabell Peters (age 18) and Ethel Pauline Peters (age 17) while students at the West Virginia Negro Collegiate Institute in 1919. The research and project present a paradigm shift in theory and practice for cultural workers engaged in mining invisible voices of the “Other” vis–à–vis “majoritarian” representations of race in digitally interactive public histories. (Source: author's abstract)

Screen shots: 

Joel Beeson and Dana Coester on War Poems: Critical race theory and database narrative at ELO14

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Record posted by: 
Magnus Lindstrøm