Throughout this semester, HST 251 has taught me many things about the history of slavery. Through the activities and blog posts have done, it has become much easier to comprehend the crucial material we have learned during this class. One activity that sticks out to me was actually the one we were assigned last week. For last weeks blog assignment, we were tasked with converting a spreadsheet of data into a Flourish chart that would better represent the data given to us. The spreadsheets given to us consisted of a whole bunch of data mostly regarding the number of free and enslaved people during the year 1800. The spreadsheet also gave me more in depth information like state, area code, and county. Once I scanned the sheet and gathered al the information needed for a graph to be made, I inputed it into Flourish, and my graph was created.
Like I stated in the paragraph above, the excel spreadsheet that I chose to use as my data ad graph gave me number on not only the number of enslaved people at the time, but also the number of free people. From here, I chose to head into the direction aimed at when slavery was made illegal in the United States. I was looking to expand my knowledge on the subject, and truly dive deep into weather or not the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 worked.
The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and executive order by Abraham Lincoln that was conceived on September 22, 1862, and sworn in on January 1, 1863. On January 1, 1863, the proclamation changed the legal status under federal law of more then 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the secessionists Confederate states from enslaved to free. Although the Emancipation legally set all slaves free, for some former slaves it actually did nothing beneficial for them at all. After the new order was put in place, many slaves actually stayed put or went of on their own and struggled immensely. According to Khan Academy, although slavery was over with, the constant prejudice carried on. Slaves who tried going and living on their own attempted to seize their rightful land from former slave owners, but would be pushed out once again by federal troops. The Black Codes would also be put into place which once again gave black American little rights. The laws made it illegal for blacks to serve on juries, testify against whites, or serve in state militias. It also forced them to begin share cropping with white land owners, if they refused, they would be persecuted.
For the people who decided to leave their former plantations, little to no work was able to be found. Many lived in rural areas and were extremely impoverished. Since no wages or education were given to them when slavery was going on, they really had no other options besides sharecropping with white land owners, which was a huge burden on them as well. All these heartaches did bring organization although. Education, long denied to African Americans in the South, became an especially impassioned cause. African American teachers helped found new schools operated by the federal Freedmen’s Bureau, and brought free public education to African Americans in the South for the first time. By 1870, there were more than 240,000 pupils in more than 4,000 schools. Howard University, Fisk University, and Hampton Institute were also founded during this period.
“Doing digital history” was defiantly a different type of dynamic that I am normally accustom to. Since it is defiantly I writing bases class, at time I did struggle to find things to say even though every part of information presented to us was thoroughly analyzed for me. All of the history classes I have taken throughout my life were nothing like this one at all, but the way it was taught through the activities and analyzing made it easy to really see the data and facts. Specifically, I really enjoyed using Voyant and Flourish. Using these tools to better demonstrate the data given to us made it super easy to see exactly what we needed to discuss in our blog posts and really get the heart of the information onto the page.
Many aspects of this class will defiantly echo into my work and life in the future. One thing that really sticks out to me was actually in the beginning of the semester. In our first class period, common word mistakes were given to us regarding slavery. Proper word usage is defiantly a necessity when talking about such an unfortunate and sad topic like slavery. Learning these types of things will defiantly be useful for future history classes I will take in college and for just all around knowledge going forward in life. Out of all the blog posts we did, the mp3 one was defiantly the hardest for me to complete. I was really struggling for relevant information to record pertaining to the given topic of discussion.
To wrap things up, as a late add into the course, I didn’t really expect much going into it. I never really enjoyed my history classes during high school and in fact, usually avoided taking them all together. But the way it was taught through activities, blog posts, and outside search engines, it actually really made the class interesting to be apart of. Learning the in depth facts about enslaved people in America really resonated with me heavily because it is such a touchy topic. For next semesters class, I would defiantly keep going with sites like Voyant and Flourish. It will defiantly really help the students comprehend the information and even make it more fun since you can virtually customize everything.