Reflections on “Maroons of North America Viewshare”

If you ever were interested in slave resistance in North America then check out the Maroons of North America Viewshare! Here you can find information about the location, history, size and more of maroon communities in what once constituted the thirteen colonies. If there is a particular state or time period you are interested in, this Viewshare makes finding maroons within those specifications easy.

Creating the Maroons of North America Viewshare was an interesting learning experience for me. I had never attempted to make a historical argument outside of a standard paper format. Using the visual representations of Viewshare to make my point clearly and smoothly posed a unique challenge. Through this experience I learned that not just the historical facts matter in this medium, but also stylistic elements, such as which views to use, and what the first thing visitors to the Viewshare see should be. Beyond these more abstract ideas, I also learned more about maroon communities themselves, particularly what time periods and locations they were most common in. I also learned about the geographical environment maroon communities favored: swamps and rivers which allowed them to remain mobile and hidden. At a more practical level through this project I learned how to use Viewshare, a program that I can see myself using again in my history career.

Like any project, Maroons of North America had its failures along with its successes. My first draft of the Viewshare was a little clunky. I had not realized that I could hide certain fields, so I used the same fields that I used to build the timeline and map to populate fields in my description. Since the timeline called for oddly specific dates (it augmented the dates to exact times, and if none were give the time was midnight on the day selected) it did not make as much sense for the broad and approximate dates I was working with. To remedy this I realized I could hide those specific dates and create fields with general dates, so instead of June 4th, 1775, 12:00, I could just say during the summer of 1775. The same was true of locations. Some of the locations I was discussing were swamps or other places that were incompatible locations for Viewshare’s geolocation program, so I instead used nearby towns. This also looked odd in my description so I hid those fields and made a field that used the location I truly meant, something like “Four Hole Swamp” instead of the town next to the swamp. On the side of success, the biggest success I feel like I had were the way the map and timeline worked together to provide a quick way of gathering significant information about maroons. When a visitor to this Viewshare sees the sheer prevalence of maroons on the timeline or map it has the potential to make a powerful impact.

Please feel free to explore my project, and let me know what you think!


One Reply to “Reflections on “Maroons of North America Viewshare””

  1. Nathan,

    I really enjoyed learning about your project in class. The content was interesting and the format you used was easy to understand. I particularly liked the way the timeline was laid out so people can see how long the maroons lasted in comparison to one another. I also liked that information could be isolated by time period or size of the maroon.

    This could be a great way of teaching kids about history or giving them a project to create a map like you did.


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