Monthly Archives: February 2013

Feb. 27, 2013 – Historiographical Essay and the Omeka.Org Exhibit Software

Professor Graham has created an “omeka.org” installation for my online exhibit, and he has purchased the domain name blackhistoryincanada.ca to host it.  Thank you, Dr. Graham.  This is very exciting!  The “.org” version will, I am told, offer more features than the simpler (and free) “.net” version of the software.  I logged on and can see the main page but have not started work on it yet.  I hope to be able to import my existing collection data from my previous “omeka.net” exhibit and collection.  But if not, I don’t mind re-entering the data.  I only had about fifteen images on it.

I have spent this entire past week working on the historiographical essay.  It’s going more slowly than I expected as I find I am having to return to a lot of my sources and re-read.  I kept records of them, so they’re not hard to re-find but it is just sort of time consuming.  Lesson learned: be really clear about sources and notes, including quotations, when researching.  Part of the problem is that, when I first got my theory for this paper, I did some of my research on Wikipedia.  So now that I’m actually writing the paper, I need to find similar information in my proper theory books.  That said, I now have two quite good theory books: Simon Gunn’s “History and Cultural Theory” and John Tosh’s “The Pursuit of History.”  So I figure I’m about three-quarters of the way done in writing a first draft.  It will still need fixing and smoothing, but at least I’ll have the main text.

This week, starting this afternoon, I want to finish the final quarter of my essay, at least in draft format.  Then I want to spend some time working on getting up and going with Omeka.Org and the new online exhibit.

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Feb. 20, 2013 – Exhibit Text and Images, and the Historiographical Essay

I have had a pretty productive week.  I finished drafting my text for my online exhibit, got it proof-read and made edits.  I also have a complete set of images that will accompany the text in the exhibit. 

I have decided to introduce my exhibit with some information about Rose Fortune.  She was a Black entrepreneur in Nova Scotia during the 1800s and there is a nice watercolour painting of her.  I am going to conclude with some information about Dr. Carrie Best who was a journalist and author from the 1900s, also from Nova Scotia.  This makes it sound like I am focusing on Nova Scotia, but I actually also have images from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.  As well, I have some maps and diagrams.

So, at this point, I am ready to start posting stuff online.  I just need now to confirm whether I will be using Omeka.net or Omeka.org.  I can always stay with the .net product.  It just won’t be as flexible for presenting my information.

I also made a start on my historiographical essay.  I have cut and pasted my notes into a roughly correct order, according to the outline that we discussed earlier, and now need to go back and turn it into a real essay.  I am missing some examples – good evidence and proof of some parts of my argument – that I still need to go back into my sources to find.

So this week will be devoted to my essay and to confirming the exhibit software product.

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Feb. 13, 2013 – Technology Trouble, an Interview, and More Images

This week has been a bit of a disaster technologically, so I didn’t make the progress I’d hoped to. My hard disk crashed, so I lost about 2 days just dealing with the repairs and the recovery. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any data, which is kind of remarkable and a huge relief.

I also spent half a day writing a response to interview questions for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences newsletter. This was not a waste of time for my project, though, because it helped me organize my thoughts.

Still, with these other things going on, I made progress on my narrative for my exhibit, and found some good images for some topics that I have struggled to find anything useful or interesting. For example, I have got a map of the U.S. Northwest Territory that shows Detroit, so I can use this when talking about slaves escaping out of Canada.

I also found a map of the Saint John River in New Brunswick that has “negro settlements” marked on it. This will allow me to add New Brunswick as a place of significance in black history.

I obtained pictures of Lt. Governor Simcoe and of Joseph Papineau to go with my discussion about the beginnings of the abolishment of slavery in Upper- and Lower-Canada.

I added a diagram of the slaves packed into a slave ship that was used as evidence in the British House of Commons in 1790-1, and will use it in my discussion about the British abolishment of the transatlantic slave trade.

I finally found a picture of Richard Pierpoint, who is portrayed in a soldier’s uniform. If I can use it, it will accompany my narrative about black soldiers’ role in the War of 1812. I am not sure where this picture comes from, who it belongs to and when it was painted, but I’ve sent an email to The Afro News, a newspaper in British Columbia asking about it and asking for permission.

I also found an image of a tattered looking map of the Underground Railroad ‘routes’, a Canada Post stamp showing Victoria Cross recipient Quartermaster William Hall, a Canadian who volunteered as an American Civil War surgeon, and a decorated WWI vet.

I feel like I’m repeating myself now, but … this week I really hope I can finalize my exhibit narrative. I think I have enough images but the question is: are they the right ones for the narrative? I also need to confirm the platform upon which to build this exhibit. Will it be Omeka.net or Omeka.org? I also plan to spend time this weekend pulling together material for my historiographical essay.

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Feb. 6, 2013 – Exhibit Narrative and Images To Go With It.

I spent all my time this week working on the exhibit and no time, really, on the essay, besides organizing my thoughts.  For the exhibit, I have mostly written a narrative that will tell the story of the exhibit.  Before, my exhibit was just an introduction, followed by scattered images, with details about each image.  Now I have a more cohesive narrative which will go with the images and tie them together.

I also found a number of new images.  There is practically nothing available from the 1600s, but I have found a map of Samuel de Champlain’s 1605 Port Royal Habitation.  This is the location where the first known black person – Mathieu Da Costa – spent time working as a translator on Champlain’s expedition.

I also created a map animation showing where black people came from when they came to Canada in the 1600s and 1700s.  This is to show that they didn’t come as refugees from the U.S., as they did later.  And they didn’t come in slave ships from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade.  Instead they were brought by their owners from Europe and the U.S., as refugees from Jamaica, and as United Empire Loyalists.

Animation in Powerpoint of the Sources of Slaves in Canada – show

For the 20th century, I found an image of Viola Desmond, a black entrepreneur who fought for her right to sit in the white section of a movie theatre in Nova Scotia in 1946.  I would still like to find a few more images for this period.  But since there are so many available, I want to find images with some significance.

I have also been talking to Professor Graham about switching my exhibit to the more advanced Omeka product.  I am presently using Omeka.Net which is free, but fairly basic in terms of its features.  Omeka.Org has greater flexibility, so I understand.

So this coming week, I want to finalize my narrative and ensure that I have enough – and the right – images for my exhibit.  I would also like to make some more progress on my historiographical essay.

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