The Abolition of British Slavery – Interactive Map

The BBC have quite good resources, and I remember using their website when I was in school.

How do I update this? How do I develop this?

I need to answer this in my project. What I do know is that my audience don’t expect to be patronised, and are quite sophisticated when it comes to their visual media preferences. When you consider the video games, websites, and mobile technology that they are accustomed to, you can see that 11-16 year olds are quite advanced, and are more complex in their thinking than they are credited. I remember when I was in school thinking I knew more than the teachers, and feeling patronised by them, so I have no doubt that school kids can be strong-minded and capable of forming their own opinions.



Free The Slaves


I feel quite ignorant, not having given the issue of modern-day slavery much thought. I want to learn more, and find out especially what organizations are doing, and how possibly I could be involved. I feel this project will be worthwhile for myself, and I want to make it worthwhile for the different causes aimed at eradicating slavery. I have no doubt that slavery exists even in London, so this is definitely an issue that didn’t end with the Abolition of Slavery.

*What I have also noticed is how many interactive maps are available online, so I need to think for the project how a develop a visual style that suits the need of my audience and can stand apart. Most importantly, I don’t want to lose sight of the educational purpose of my project, and a rewriting of Black History in a global history that reflects the current present. Children will be at the focal point, and I have seen recently in the news how young people respond to children similar to them, albeit in desperate situations:

Boy raises cash for Syria

A seven-year-old boy has swum 21 miles to help children in Syria.

Geography of Race in the U.S.

Although I have shifted my focus somewhat from race in itself, I still find it very interesting to see how it is dealt with in the present day.

This website explores the spatial distribution of racial groups in the United States, its historical and contemporary causes, and its consequences for racial inequality. Location matters for one’s access to many goods: decent housing, employment opportunities, voting power, education, low-cost public services, a clean environment, connections to influential people. Managing the spatial distribution of racial groups has therefore been a key tool for controlling who gets access to these goods. This website focuses on the role of government and laws in constructing the spacial distribution of racial groups, although some attention is also paid to private sector actions. The interactive maps and other information contained in this site reveal several dimensions of this process

I can see some of the errors in my thinking, especially with information gathered about my audience. People want to see what is happening now! It isn’t out of apathy for the past, but a more pressing concern for real life situations. I think that there is a link to be made between the present and past, however the present must be the starting point.

*Just a thought, the most recent cases of racism have been in football. And also in wider British society, discrimination seems more frequent to me against South Asian, and Muslim communities in Britain. Although I’ve experienced ‘anti-black’ racism, that is perhaps an exception to the current abhorrent Islamophobic rule.

*Also, this work takes into account economic and political factors which I have all too often glossed over. Race as social, is socioeconomic and also sociopolitical.

Geography = Good

I also found from my research why Geography for the non-history lover is more preferable:

  • Fact
  • See what is happening around you now
  • Children
  • Population
  • Economy
  • Climates
  • Rivers
  • What will it be in the future
  • Tangible
  • Statistics
  • Universal, refers to the world
  • No opinion, no bias
  • Visualise it

Adapting my interest in geography and maps, space and place, and belonging, I want to bear in mind the points above, applying them to history. I’ve highlighted a few points that I think I need to deal with in the early stages of development.

What stands out to me was a quick comment from my brother about his Geography classes, that he gets to see the world around him and children. It seems logical that he would want to be able to relate with others around him, around the world, and that these themes would be of more interest to him. Immediately I think that children and young adults should be a focus in my work, in relation to global slavery.

It is something I have never consider in much depth and welcome any advice on where I can find more information.

Audience Research

In an impromptu conversation with my younger brother, I managed to gain further insight that has helped me with my project.

There’s no doubt that history hasn’t changed.

Whilst my brother confirmed to me that at the school we both attended, history classes are as dull as ever, it seems that the perspectives and flaws in history remain the same. Both the account of history and teaching of it seem to be losing out to other subjects.

I don’t want to be premature in guessing that this could be a reason why he and his age group seem uninterested in racial identity. His nativity to the racism I experienced, which reflected my parents and grandparent’s especially during 60s- 80s Britain, haven’t compelled him to consider the history of racism like I have. Nor would he consider doing so having been put well off of history from his experience in school.

He told me quite clearly that he doesn’t need to know about as it wasn’t relevant to him in the present day. Nor was he impressed with Black History as it is taught, given that one hour lessons [over the space of one month], couldn’t do the Slave Trade justice, let alone present him with the sexier and more fashionable ideas of blackness in the present day. My opinion is that Black History, at the end of the day, falls into the trap of History, and all its dullness. If it is meant to inspire young black people then it seems to be out of touch.

More findings from my brother:

  • Not relevant to present day
  • Can’t visualise it
  • Can find out quicker online
  • Always the same sources, going over the same things
  • Too much text and book based
  • Never enough information recorded
  • Too many estimates and opinions
  • Fake reconstructions with actors
  • Not titillating enough like Ancient Egypt
  • History shouldn’t even be considered if you can’t see it now
  • Too narrow-minded
  • Too Eurocentric (Russia, Germany, etc.)
  • Doesn’t excite or make you feel included

Black history in particular:

  • stereotypical
  • Not all modern-day blacks are from Africa
  • Africa has changed
  • Causes problems between black and white students
  • Not taught fully
  • Why is it only Atlantic Slave Trade

I have been using these findings, in combination other research to form the basis of my ideas. I have made a few conclusions from this research:

History perhaps needs more up to date visualisations. How has history been re-visualised?

History should include choice. How do you increase perspectives of history?