Re-Mapping Segregated Atlanta: A Spatial History Project
"Re-Mapping Segregated Atlanta" is a collaborative project to create digital research tools to investigate the spatial history of segregation in Atlanta. The project extracts and mines data from rare maps and unique manuscript collections housed in MARBL and maps the data in a geographic information system (GIS), a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, and manage geographically-referenced data.
The initiative grew out of the question, "How can students, faculty, and other researchers use library resources to study Jim Crow Atlanta?" It is difficult to analyze segregation because much of its physical history has disappeared from the contemporary city's landscape. The signs that reserved facilities for a particular race were taken down, and most of the buildings with separate entrances, balconies, restrooms and water fountains were torn down decades ago. Although it is not visible in the city's built environment, segregation left an "impression" on Atlanta and its topography. "Re-Mapping Segregated Atlanta" develops tools to visualize and analyze segregation's imprint on the city by creating new ways to integrate spatial and non-spatial data into research and the classroom.
The "Re-Mapping Segregated Atlanta" team is composed of a small group of multi-talented and interdisciplinary librarians drawn from across the Emory Libraries, including the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) and the Electronic Data Center, the Content Division, and the Services Division of the Emory Libraries. The members of the team are:
- Michael Page, Coordinator of Geospatial Services
- Randy Gue, Curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections, Manuscript Archives and Rare Book Library
- Kim Durante, Metadata Librarian
- Erica Bruchko, Librarian for United States History and African American Studies
"Re-Mapping Segregated Atlanta" is an umbrella for a series of library-based digital projects. The first initiative is the MARBL Digital Historic Map Collection, which provides online access to rare and unique printed maps from MARBL's collections published before 1923, maps from books and atlases published before 1923, and some maps printed by state and local governments after 1923. The second project focuses on creating an historic geodatabase and geocoder, a Google Maps-like application for 1920s Atlanta. Using images from rare maps and atlases, data mined from personal papers and the records of businesses and organizations, the geodatabase and geocoder will create a multifaceted inventory of data layers that can be structured, queried, and visualized on a digital map.