Hi all! Since my last update about my digital project, I have decided to focus on the enslaved individuals involved in the Pearl incident for my mapping endeavor. I originally wanted to focus on one or two specific individuals, but I am worried that I would be trying to add too much information into the narrative. I decided to use the narrative to give context to the Pearl incident more broadly, and then use the maps to put more detailed information about individuals involved in the Pearl incident that a reader can explore.
I tried using StoryMaps as well as a combination of Google My Maps and WordPress to see which option would be easier to use. At first, I enjoyed using My Maps over ArcGIS. It was easier to pin locations, pins assets, and edit textual information. When I tried to draw lines to demonstrate movement of the Pearl schooner down the Potomac River, I also found that My Maps was more intuitive and easier to use since it has a simpler interface.
However, I didn’t like the way that the maps were embedded into WordPress. I found it more difficult to interact with them, and the editing process also seemed more difficult. If I wanted to edit on both platforms simultaneously, it seemed liked I had to update the embedded code for the map on WordPress each time. As a result, I decided to use StoryMaps as the host for my project. After some trial and error, I was able to do the same tasks that I completed in My Maps while also integrating the information into a narrative on StoryMaps.
For my research, I found a couple of addresses where the Pearl’s passengers may have lived in a report called “The Operation of the Underground Railroad in Washington, D.C., c. 1800-1860.” It was researched and compiled by Hilary Russell for the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and the National Park Service. Since some of the roads no longer exist, I tried my best to use older maps of D.C. and match up the locations by referencing Google Maps. I tried to find where the addresses may be located and pinned them on an ArcGIS map.
For each pin, I included the names of the Pearl passengers who lived there as well as information about their enslaver and the address of the location. I like how this layer of the map gives a sample of the places where the Pearl passengers traveled to get to the schooner, however, I wish there were more locations or information that I could include about the individuals. If I find more information as I continue researching, I hope to add more individuals to the map.
I thought it would be interesting to overlay a map of D.C. c.1840s onto the ArcGIS map. It seems like it can be done since other maps like Mapping Early Washington, D.C., Law & Family: 1822 have done it before. However, I could not figure out how to do it. I’m guessing it may be a feature of a different version of ArcGIS?
At this stage of the draft, I feel like my narrative understanding and mapping of the Pearl incident itself is at a pretty good place, but my understanding of the aftermath definitely needs more detail. Luckily, I recently found more research that gives details about the slave traders who purchased some of the Pearl fugitives than I expected. For the draft, the content is very sparse, but I’ve mapped out the types of details that I want to include in the maps. As I continue working towards the final project, I’m planning to add more detail in the maps about the enslaved individuals’ experiences after returning to D.C. and being resold into the slave trade.