Civil Rights Assassinations and Murders: Responses and Reactions that Inspired Key Civil Rights Moments

This is my Conference Poster but I’ll also add an option to download it!

Here is a link to my ArcGIS project and below is my conference poster to download.

This project was both rewarding and mentally draining. Not because it was an assigned project that took a long time, but because of the nature of my project. Researching, writing, and making maps about murders and assassinations that are racially motivated takes a toll, but a toll that is worth it. I opted to include several graphic photos, including a disclaimer at the beginning of the project, because it felt necessary. Most of the time I felt incredibly insensitive adding these photos of people who had been brutalized and killed but I constantly had to remind myself that these things happened, these events altered history, and these people matter. We are often desensitized to graphic images today, so these photos might not outright trigger you, but as you see these photos, remind yourself that these are people, these are victims of brutality and racism that our country still faces today.  

I decided to include murders of not just famous activists, which I think is beneficial to the project and learning about events in Civil Rights. The inclusion of all kinds of murders and assassinations can help learners understand that the deaths of major activists were not the only thing to get the nation’s attention. People like Emmett Till or the four little girls in Birmingham were not civil rights activists but their deaths sparked something larger for the movement. Even activists who were virtually unknown had an impact with their deaths such as Jimmie Lee Jackson.

Also from the comments on my update post, I decided to include a “Beyond Civil Rights” section, and I’m so glad that I did. The inclusion of post-Civil Rights deaths is important because the Civil Rights Movement did not end in 1968 which is often cited as its end date. Although laws were passed giving legal rights, systematic racism was and is still rampant throughout the nation and that is demonstrated by including these deaths. It also helps to show that even deaths today inspire black activists to continue their fight and show them that the fight is not close to being over. I made a subtle point to make all of my Civil Rights photos in black and white, because those events are often seen as a time that is foreign to us and there is no real way to connect with it. But, with the “Beyond Civil Rights” section, I intentionally made sure every photo was in color, as a subtle way to bring the legacy of Civil Rights to the present with the murders and brutality that we see today.

Ultimately, I did not have time to do extensive research on deaths that happened before Civil Rights, so I ended up just doing the post-Civil Rights information. This is something I would like to add as a future addition to my project because those deaths are just as important and deserve to be recognized. I’d also want to go deeper and add more people than who I have currently in the Civil Rights and post-Civil Rights categories. I think this has the potential to be a much bigger project than I currently have.

Regarding the technicalities of the project, ArcGIS is easy in theory, but I had no idea what I was doing, therefore some of my maps might be a bit messy. It was frustrating that only one photo was allowed per point on the maps because for some of the points I could have chosen from hundreds of options, and one just wasn’t enough. I wanted to create more of a gallery for each of the points but I couldn’t figure out how on ArcGIS. The maps also like to zoom in and out on their own free will no matter what I do to them, so if you encounter this problem I’m sorry!! The application is still a great tool, but it seems definitely geared more toward actual GIS work, hence the name. I feel fairly proud of the project and although it has its flaws, I hope you guys enjoy it!

I’m very sad to not be ending the semester with all of you! Hopefully the fall will bring us better days and many happy hours to make up for lost time.

One Reply to “Civil Rights Assassinations and Murders: Responses and Reactions that Inspired Key Civil Rights Moments”

  1. Congratulations on a successful project! I think your decision to build out the narrative flow with a series of embedded maps that situate each assassination/murder in a location works really well.

    I really appreciate you sharing the draining part of working on a project like this. That’s real, and it’s challenging, but it’s also a major and important part of doing this kind of important historical work.

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