Final Blog Assignment :(

As my final blog assignment, I have decided to go back and revisit the narrative mapping we did during week 6. The story map I created, using KnightLab, focused on a few key events that eventually led to abolition in the United States. When I originally put this project together, I only included five different events in that timeline. Obviously five events do not depict the entire path to abolition. This was a long and extremely hard period of time for any enslaved person. It took pain, passion, anger, determination, and sacrifices in order for enslaved people to stand up to their enslavers and push for a brighter future for themselves. Linked below is the updated narrative map!

Using KnightLab to create this story was so much fun. Not only was I able to create a well-rounded depiction of the path to abolition, I also learned so much. I knew of each of the included events but putting together these storyboards really tests your knowledge on the subject. I had to do research, learn about the event in its entirety, and then choose the trivial information that would be included to give the reader everything they need to know about that specific event. As my revision for this assignment, I went back and added three more historical events that eventually led to the abolishment of slavery in the United States. The first event I added was regarding Frederick Douglass. His story is truly amazing, and I encourage you to read more about him. He was born into slavery and during his teenage years, he taught himself how to read and this urged him to strive for freedom. Douglass was harmed and beaten while he was an enslaved teenager and one day, he decided to fight back. He realized that standing up for himself is what is going to help him survive, and it did. He escaped from slavery and when he reached the North, he was noted as influential writer. He joined the antislavery movement and soon became one of the leaders of that movement.

The second event I added to my narrative map was the Compromise of 1850. This was a tricky event to include into this map because of all the information that was associated with the compromise. Compromises in the United States were really just put into place to try to cover up holes in the Constitution for rules they did not know. The Missouri Compromise drew an invisible line that divided the North from the South and declared North states to be free, and South states to not be free states. California was introduced as a state to the United States, but with the Missouri Compromise, it could not be fully declared a free state or not. This led to the Compromise of 1850. California was declared a free state, but obviously this is not considered a compromise since the South does not benefit. The second part of this compromise was the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act. This act allowed southerners to cross the border into free states and capture freed people who were formerly enslaved. This was not a step in the right direction for the path to abolition. However, to balance this extreme and harsh element of the compromise, popular sovereignty was introduced to the nation. The Fugitive Slave Act gave the government control of slavery and popular sovereignty stated that since the United States is a democracy, it should be the decision of the people in a region to decide whether slavery should be permitted or rejected. Popular sovereignty was used by each state to vote on slavery and each state was responsible for deciding the laws regarding it within their own borders. This addition to the compromise eventually led the Bleeding Kansas, which was my final addition to my narrative map.

My final addition to my narrative map was Bleeding Kansas. The entirety of the Bleeding Kansas events spanned over four years, but they started as a direct response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This was the act that implemented popular sovereignty, but it was responsible for the expansion of slavery into western territories and that angered a lot of people. Bleeding Kansas essentially became a small civil war between proslavery groups and antislavery groups. When popular sovereignty came into play, Kansas was flooded with proslavery groups that came to vote in favor for their position, when Kansas was originally a free state. These battles were so important because they were relatively the first battles and encounters that led to the Civil War.

This entire class has been way more fun than I imagined. When this semester started, I was enrolled in Chemical Engineering classes that caused me to have a full-blown mental breakdown nearly every single day. When I decided that I did not want to go through that anymore, my only choice was to find late-start classes, and this was the first one I joined! Coming from a purely science background, I was not too thrilled about a history class, but I thoroughly enjoyed this class more than I could have imagined. A few weeks that I was dreading turned out to be really interesting, like text analysis! I am not sure why I was so nervous for that week, but using Flourish to answer a research question was really fun and engaging. On the other hand, I was really excited for the podcasting week, and I think I just didn’t realize that I was the one that was going to have to make a podcast. We were assigned to listen to a podcast from Jonathan Van Ness, who is absolutely adored in my heart, and that was the perfect podcast to listen to for that week. Once I realized I needed to record myself talking, I started getting really nervous. I can hold a conversation with a lot of people, but when it comes to holding a conversation by myself, I get overwhelmed and super nervous. In order to do the podcast, I wrote a script and just read off of it but I had to keep redoing the recording because I was sounding nervous or like I was about to cry for some reason. In the end, I really enjoyed that experience and it made me appreciate all the podcasts I listen to because it is not an easy thing to do. Also, another class I have this semester, our final is a 15-minute podcast, and I am so grateful I was already exposed to this form of art because now I know what I am dealing with!

To wrap up, I just wanted to extend so many thanks and well wishes to Professor Andrella. You truly made this class so much fun and it was so engaging every single week. One of the biggest obstacles I have faced during online classes was the lack of connection between myself and other students, as well as with the professor. Throughout this class, we learned so much about the awful truths about slavery in the United States, but we also learned and connected with each other and I appreciate that so much. It has been an honor to be a student in your first class that you are teaching by yourself, and I am very excited for your future as a professor! You made this class so much fun with all the different resources and readings. I am very happy I had the opportunity to be in this class.

One thought on “Final Blog Assignment :(

  1. Your revised story map looks fantastic! I especially like the addition of images as markers on the map. I enjoyed how you revision process sought to expand the story of abolition—it is clear that you put a lot of work into the content, display, and organization of this project. The additions of slides about Frederick Douglass, the Compromise of 1850, and Bleeding Kansas create strong context for understanding the complicated path to abolition. By emphasizing the centrality of geography in this story map, it’s amazing to see the way abolition engulfed the entire nation. I have always found it interesting to examine the role territorial expansion in the West played in this narrative. It was not just a north-south issue, but an east-west one as well. I think this is especially apparent when we look at the Missouri Compromise, the compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act (leading to Bleeding Kansas). Your map perfectly encapsulates the broad scope of the history of abolition, while also highlighting just how uneven and violent that process was (namely for enslaved people, but also as prelude to the Civil War).

    I am so glad that you decided to join this class, although I am sorry to hear that you had to go through so much stress with chemical engineering. My best advice to anyone in college is that you HAVE to do what brings you joy. Everyone brings unique skills to the table, and you can be incredibly successful so long as you do what you truly enjoy and believe that you are making a difference. With that said, I am so happy that you enjoyed this class as much as you did! I think digital history, and digital humanities more broadly, is a great and growing field for people who enjoy both quantitative skills and humanistic skills. MSU has a wonderful digital humanities community, and I encourage you to sign up for email newsletters + events/workshops. Here is the link to the DH at MSU website:

    You should be so proud of all of your accomplishments this semester. I really appreciated the kind words about the course and the specific weeks that you enjoyed. Getting Curious is one of my favorite podcasts, so I had to include JVN! I’m thrilled that you can translate your podcasting skills to another class! How cool is that!

    I was honored to be your instructor and I will truly miss this class as well. Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful contributions this semester, you brought such a profound perspective to this course and I deeply appreciated your engagement in the blogs and class discussion! Please don’t hesitate to reach out in the future should you need anything. The course website will always be there if you need to look back for a skill/tool! I wish you the best in all of your classes and your future! You will do amazing things!

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