The topic of North American maroonage is one that is rarely studied or discussed. Maroonage, or marronage, is the act of a slave fleeing, generally to an area uneasily accessible, such as a swamp or mountains. Maroonage is often divided into two sections, grand and petit. Petit maroonage is temporary, it is when a slave flees to visit a family member or is trying to negotiate better terms with the plantation owner, but intends on returning. Grand maroonage is when a slave flees permanently, sometimes forming communities with fellow slaves out of the reach of the power of the slaveholder society. It is grand maroonage during one of its highest points, the American Revolution, that this digital project will address to help address the lack of public knowledge regarding this important action or resistance of resistance.
To fill this gap in knowledge, my digital project will be a website on North American maroons. In addition to providing simple information about maroons, how they lived, and how the American Revolution provided them the chance to leave their plantations during the chaos of a British invasion, this website will also present information on the maroons in a number of non-textual ways. Using Viewshare my project will include a map, time-line, and perhaps some charts or graphs, to display the locations of maroon communities during this time period, when they existed, how large they were thought to be (if this information can be found), and what happened to them. Integrating this with stories about the maroon communities will create a multifaceted and engaging way of learning about maroons.
A brief examination on both the scholarship on North American maroons and websites dealing with maroons reveals an unsurprising absence. When maroons are mentioned it is generally in relation to Haiti or South America, and this is still a rare occurrence. Since this absence is so great the audience my website will aim for is broad. Educators and students will be foremost amongst who will benefit from this website, but anyone looking to learn more about the American Revolution in the South could benefit from this website. While academics will not be the primary audience, I hope that the maps and charts produced will have utility for an academic audience. Reaching these audiences is the greatest difficulty my project will encounter. Outreach to related historical websites and organizations is the most obvious way of reaching this websites audience, but other ways will be explored during the development of the website.
The most time consuming aspect of this project will be gathering and organizing the information for Viewshare, making it the first priority in my work plan. Once organizing is done, I will input the information in Viewshare and experiment with which visualizations are the most usual. When the Viewshare portion is complete then I will focus on making the website itself using WordPress technology on a domain I will purchase(most likely dream host). Currently I have already done some research on this topic and know many of the sources I will draw upon.