My digital project will address the abolition debates in the colony of Rhode Island in the period leading up to the American Revolution. While the state of institutionalized slavery in the South and the bloody fight of the American Civil War are well known in our collective public memory, slavery in the North is widely forgotten by the historical narrative. This project will help to fill a gap in public knowledge about the history of slavery in the United States.
I would like to present this information in an interactive format. Because we learn so much about slavery and the causes of the Civil War in the American educational system, I would like for this digital tool to stand out against other educational aids on similar topics. Further, I would like for this resource to be able to reflect the differences that were inherent between the state of slavery in the North and in the South.
In order to present this information, I will focus on the lives of two prominent Rhode Islanders, John Brown and Moses Brown. The Brown brothers entered the slave trade together. However, a horribly tragic end to their first slaving voyage caused them to follow different paths. John stuck with the slave trade and rose to wealth and prominence with his profits. Meanwhile, Moses’ eyes were opened to the questionable morality of the trade and he fought to outlaw both the trade and the institution from the colony.
I would like to create an interactive adventure game that allows players to follow the lives of John and Moses as a fictional younger sibling. As a sibling, players will be given the opportunity to join John and Moses at the critical junctures in their careers, both separately and especially at the places where they cross. Players will be familiarized with the historical progression of the move to abolition as well as the function of slavery and the place of the slave trade in Rhode Island during this time period.
My intended audience for this project is teachers and students. The game itself will be designed for an elementary aged child. I think that this type of interactive adventure is educational and exciting for this age group. It allows learning, while providing a contrast for the more traditional methods of addressing history in an educational setting. In order to reach this audience, I would like to market to teachers specifically at Rhode Island public schools. I would like to explore the possibility of it being connected to a more well-known organization in the state, such as the Rhode Island Historical Society, in order to reach more teachers.
Ideally, I would like to evaluate the project through teacher feedback. In the short run, I would like to explore the possibilities of doing a trial testing of the game with teachers in the local DC area.