WC Researchers Present “Putting Them on the Map: Tracing African American Book History through GIS Technology”

Art Kent, MD Talbot

(Washington College)

The collaborative research of Washington College’s GIS Lab and an English professor seeking answers about the one of the country’s earliest and most influential African American publishing companies will be the topic of a talk at the Talbot County Free Library in St. Michaels, Maryland.

“Putting Them on the Map: Tracing African American Book History through GIS Technology” takes place on Saturday, February 17, 2017 at 2 p.m., as part of the library’s celebration of Black History Month. The event will be held at the library’s St. Michael’s branch.

Alisha Knight, Associate Professor of English and American at Washington College  - Contributed Photo
Alisha Knight, Associate Professor of English and American at Washington College – Contributed Photo
Alisha Knight, Associate Professor of English and American Studies, will join Washington College junior Julia Portmann and GIS Development Manager Luis Machado to discuss Knight’s research into the Colored Co-Operative Publishing Company. Their collaboration resulted in a Story Maps project called “Putting Them on the Map”—a digital humanities project using data analytics to create a data visualization of the Colored Co-operative’s network of subscription agents.

Knight and her team will explain the connection between African American book publishing and geographic technologies as they share the story of the turn-of-the-century, black-owned publishing company’s efforts to become the mouthpiece and inspiration to African Americans throughout the world.

A unique and influential business that briefly flourished in the early 1900s, the Colored Co-operative promoted “the higher culture of Religion, Literature, Science, Music and Art of the Negro, universally.” It employed over time some 240 agents who sold the Colored American Magazine as far west as Seattle and as far south as San Antonio, Texas.

The Story Maps project “Putting Them on the Map” can be accessed from Knight’s faculty page. It’s also accessible from the Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society website.

For information about the Talbot County Free Library, see www.tcfl.org/

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