Gold and Chains: Reckoning with Slavery and Racism in California

Black miner during Gold Rush era. Credit: Courtesy of the California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento, California

Most of the prominent clichés when discussing California portray the state as the golden land of Hollywood, beaches or a liberal state of vegans and free thinkers. To be fair, California’s campaign to right past wrongs has produced noteworthy successes. For example, marijuana has been legal for years and many people jailed for marijuana offenses have been set free with clean records. However, under its golden exterior, it’s a state mired in contradiction.  California has a record of enslavement and racial hierarchy. Worse still, those “great men” of California who denied freedom and equality to others remain exalted as iconic and heroic by California’s official institutions.  In this new historical moment, let us champion those who demand a reckoning with slavery, long-overdue and much-needed to redeem this “golden” state still marred by its legacy of enslavement.

California was brought into the United States as a “free” state in 1850 and even though the state’s official stance was anti-slavery, slavery persisted for years for African Americans and Native Americans. What was supposed to be a land full of riches left many destitute, especially the people already living on the land when it was “discovered” by Europeans and early American settlers.

When gold was found in 1849, California was inundated with newcomers hoping to strike it rich. One of these men was white man from Mississippi named Charles Perkins. He arrived in California with his three slaves; Carter Perkins, Robert Perkins and Sandy Jones. After a short time, Charles decided to head back to the South, leaving the slaves in the care of a friend but promising the trio freedom if they worked for a few more months. They were freed November 1951 and swiftly established a successful mining business. Their future looked bright. Even though Charles Perkins did not provide paperwork granting them freedom, men assumed their freedom was guaranteed because California outlawed slavery in 1850. However, California passed a Fugitive Slave Act in 1852 declaring slaves arriving before 1850 were still property of their prior owner. In April 1852, Charles Perkins’ first cousin, Green Perkins broke into the men’s cabin while they were sleeping, tied them up and hauled them in a wagon to Sacramento. The trio hired a lawyer who argued that their detainment was unconstitutional, but no justice was to be found in court. The group eventually escaped while being deported to Mississippi. Many other African Americans would find themselves in the same predicament of fighting for their freedom in the courts. Five years later in 1857, the US Supreme Court, speaking as the supreme authority in America as a whole, declared, “the negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect, and the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”

African Americans were not alone in suffering under Californian “freedom.” The indigenous population of California suffered under the Spanish as well as the Americans. Native American slavery in California dates to the early 1800s when Franciscan missionaries established Missions along the Pacific coast. Max Mazzetti from the Rincon Reservation recalled a story he heard about Mission San Luis Rey,

“The Father there had Spaniards working the Indians as slaves there, and when they ran away, the Spaniards would come to Rincon and get the babies, swinging them by the arm or leg and toss them into the cactus…while the babies were crying, the Spaniards would make the parents tell where the Indians were hiding…those who had run away from the mission.”

California issued this official resolution prior to being granted statehood: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for punishment of crimes, shall ever be tolerated in this State.” It echoes the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865. Likewise, just as the 13th Amendment ushered in laws on vagrancy, and other minor offenses at the cost of freedom to African Americans, California passed the Act for Government and Protection of Indians. The act made it legal for white Americans to enslave Native Americans charged with loitering or public drinking. At the same time, it was a common practice for local ranchers and vineyard owners to pay their indigenous workers with wine. Lawmen routinely inspected the ranches to round up intoxicated Native Americans. The natives were later bailed out at auctions and forced to work off the newly incurred debt in a system similar to convict-leasing in the Jim Crow south.

The man who signed the Act for Government and Protection of Indians was Peter Hardeman Burnett, California’s first elected governor when it became a state. While not well known outside of California, he was recently rebuked by current governor, Gavin Newsome for his countless atrocities against Native Americans. Burnett envisioned a western frontier with no Native Americans, or blacks or Chinese. He predicted to the 1851 Legislature, “That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races until the Indian race becomes extinct must be expected …” He oversaw the massacre of hundreds of innocent Pomo tribe members in an event known as the Bloody Island Massacre in 1850. Owing in part to his desire to pass a violent exclusionary law against African Americans and to his overall poor leadership, his tenure as governor lasted only one year, but he was still elected to the California Supreme Court in 1857 because racism in America is rarely a deal breaker.

Peter Burnett  along with John Sutter helped establish the city of Sacramento. John Sutter is another exalted person in California history whose past is bloodied by the atrocities for which he is responsible. He is well known for establishing Sutter’s Fort, which was a haven for white Americans traveling to the California territory and it was on his land that gold was found ushering in the Gold Rush in 1849. Several state-sanctioned sites to this day sing his praises as a pioneer and a hospitable, charitable gentleman. However, the indigenous community bears witness to Sutter’s crimes against humanity. There  are countless accounts of how he mistreated his Native American slaves, kidnapping, rape, and one account of keeping a native woman bound by her nose ring to a post. Even when California became a state, there was a law that forbade Native Americans, African Americans and mulattoes from testifying against white men, dooming them to suffer in silence without legal recourse. For years, there has been an outcry from the Californian Native American community about John Sutter’s mistreatment of his indigenous workers, yet he remains an honored forefather in the California pantheon.

Some progress has been made on reckoning with Sutter’s atrocities. On June 15, 2020, the John Sutter statue was removed from the Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California and more removals of his name are on the horizon. It was one of countless statues or monuments removed as the United States began to publicly acknowledge how its past has shaped its present. In this manner, California can be seen as a microcosm of America.

Yet monuments to racist figures remain prominent in California even as others fall. In June 2015, the city of Sacramento erected an 8-foot tall statue of Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan became governor of California after his career in Hollywood. During his campaign for governor in 1966, he denounced the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He referred to the urban areas where African Americans lived as “jungles.” Recently, a recording of his talking to Richard Nixon reveals his reference to African Americans as “monkeys.” He also supported discriminatory housing policies saying, “If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes in the sale or renting of his property, it is his right to do so.” Once he decided to run for president, he coined the slogan, “Let’s Make America Great Again” longing for the days before the Civil Rights Act. While president, he attempted to dilute the Voting Rights Act and attempted to abolish affirmative action. His refusal to disavow apartheid in South Africa, led Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu to declare he is “a racist, pure and simple.” Despite this, California decided to erect a statue in his honor in the state capitol building. The statue ironically replaced a statue of Christopher Columbus, the forefather of genocide in the Americas.

California has started making strides in decolonizing its history. School names are changing, and monuments are being removed all over the state as indigenous voices are being heard. In his farewell address to the nation, Reagan called America a “shining city on a hill” invoking the voice of writer and pilgrim, John Winthrop  discussing America as a beacon for freedom. What Reagan ignored is that Winthrop, author of A Model of Christian Charity owned at least one Native American slave taken during the Pequot War  of 1636–37. Perhaps a better farewell-cum-rallying cry that harks back to California history is Shakespeare’s “All that glitters is not gold.” However, the golden state that honors slaveholders and a racist former president as native sons can now pride itself on its native daughter and celebrate our new Black/South-Asian and first female Vice President of the United States of America. Kamala Harris represents California unchained.


“Involuntary Servitude Apprenticeship and Slavery of Native Americans in California « California Indian History.” n.d. Accessed November 11, 2020.

“Sutter Health Removes John Sutter Statue Amid Complaints About Racist History – Capradio.Org.” n.d. Accessed November 11, 2020.

Wee | @ewee, Dogmo Studios | Eliza. 2018. “About – Gold Chains: The Hidden History of Slavery in California | ACLU NorCal.” ACLU of Northern CA. June 28, 2018.

Danger of COVID Conspiracy Theories

The internet is full of conspiracy theories. Some of these include theories like NASA faking the moon landing and the government hiding aliens at Area 51. Maybe you heard rumors that the Earth is flat, and scientists are covering up the “truth.” Most theories floating around are benign, but in this Age of Information, some of these ideas can become dangerous when left unchecked. Currently, the world is wrestling with the COVID-19 virus pandemic and conspiracy theories about the situation have flooded social media timelines for months. Misinformation is its own form of pandemic.

Some of the theories are funny and who doesn’t need a laugh during this time of social distancing and isolation? The funniest ideas I read were Disney+ releasing just in time to capitalize on the virus (they may be on to something though), and that you can use vodka as hand sanitizer. I also saw rumors that garlic can cure COVID-19 and the virus possibly arrived from space. On my timelines I even saw memes and posts saying that African Americans were immune to the virus which is ludicrous. Have you heard the one that 5G towers are causing the spread of the virus? More on that one later.

Initially, Americans didn’t take the virus seriously, and some still don’t. Movies about pandemics like 28 Days Later and Contagion were trending that first week of “social distancing” and countless Coronavirus memes were being shared across the country. There is an inherent danger of entertainment becoming reality when consuming unchecked information nonstop the way we do in 2020. I’m reminded of an autumn night in 1938 when the War of the Worlds broadcast caused a brief panic to the few people who missed the segment of the broadcast which stated it was meant to be entertainment. Memes, social media and many of the conspiracy theories out there should provide such disclaimers.

Unchecked conspiracy theories can have consequences. There were over 980 cases of measles in the United States in 2019. Measles, a disease declared eradicated in the country had a sudden resurgence. This resurgence was caused partly by so-called “anti-vaxxers” who embraced the theory that vaccines cause autism. The movement grew and parents started to withhold or avoid the MMR vaccinations that prevent measles. In this case, unverified information led to the spread of a disease Americans believed to be a thing of the past.

In the month of April, over fifty 5G towers were attacked and set on fire by vandals in the United Kingdom. One attack forced the evacuation of a housing development near the tower forcing the quarantined citizens into the street. The theory that COVID-19 doesn’t exist and the newly built 5G towers are linked to the spread of COVID-19 motivated these attacks. The theories insist that people are becoming sick from the radiation these towers emit. There is no science to support this, but the idea has been propagated by radical social media groups and even a few celebrities on their quest to #staywoke. It is amazing to see how many people believe information on radio waves, frequencies and advanced science from people who barely understand the workings of their iPhones. Conspiracy theories aren’t going anywhere and some even will have nuggets of truth but before you embrace their ideas, research and think for yourself. Ensure you’re truly awake.

Social Media and Museums

Instagram for Museums Posted by Digital Pathways.

Social Media for Museums: An Overview Posted by Digital Pathways. 

Should Museums Have a Personality By Russell Dornan.

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2020 By Benjamin Chacon. 

This week’s readings provided a guide for strategizing how to transfer a museum’s image onto social media platforms. These authors interpret ‘image’ as a museum’s mission, the culture of the institution. With a focus on Instagram, these articles collectively offer a multilayered introduction to the many advantages of branding your organization on this platform. These readings brought forth some of the most fundamental lessons in public history in extending the ethics of traditional methods of community outreach, networking within the profession, and producing original work. Furthermore, these readings also capture the importance of using the platform to strengthen interpersonal relationships between the museum and the people they serve.

Instagram for Museums and Social Media for Museums: An Overview, both published on Digital Pathways (unknown individual author) serve as a more general overview for museum employees in taking the first step of starting an Instagram page. I felt that the objective of these two articles were to persuade museum employees to take the first step of signing up on this platforms. By breaking down Instagram’s usability and promotional advantages, these articles highlight Instagram as a simple, accessible, and effective tool for growing a museum’s community. ‘Community’ refers to the professional and local community of which museums are situated in. One thing that I really like from Social Media for Museums: An Overview is the attention to audience and inclusivity. I think it’s important to highlight the history of exclusion of certain demographic groups, and to recognize the outreach that could be achieved through social media. 

Russell Dornan’s Should Museums Have a Personality and Benjamin Chacon’s The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2020 provide more minute details for maintaining your museum’s Instagram profile. Dornan, I feel, focuses more on the creativity aspect of producing content and writing captions across various social media platforms. I think this article serves as a lesson in consistency and appropriate language. Two very important factors in conducting public history that are applicable to digital platforms. Chacon’s article, on the other hand, is a more analytical approach to using Instagram to grow your following. Chacon offers probably  the most ‘advanced’ or in depth approach to growing your following, and keeping track of your museum’s social media activity. I really like how Chacon pulls back the curtain of average Instagram posts and captions to dissect how to take advantage of Instagram’s algorithm. Both of these authors do a very good job at providing an example of each of their methods. These authors provide readers with a new perspective to the simplest functions by sharing their approach for using the most common features across social media (Twitter threads, the explore page, hashtags, etc). I think this makes readers feel that they too can maintain an effective profile. 

I really like how all four authors stress that social media is not just about marketing. Each article highlights that maintaining an element of ‘fun’ in effort to ‘humanize’ museums, and maintain memorable social media presence. Each article recognizes that there are actual people behind the accounts that follow, or could potentially follow, the museum. While social media is great for establishing first impressions, this activity should continue this effort with real world interactions.

Spatial Digital Humanities: Embattled Borderlands

Embattled Borderlands Created by Krista Schyler in collaboration with the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, the National University of Mexico, and the International League of Conservation Photographers. Reviewed Feb. 7–Feb. 17, 2020

Embattled Borderlands is a digital Story Map that documents the impacts of United States immigration and border security policies along the United States-Mexico border. This project was conducted as a national and international collaborative effort to humanize the southern border. Led by Krista Schyler, this team documented the effects immigration and border politics have had on the ecosystem, wildlife, and society along the southern border. The content of this Story Map is based on years of original documentation and research. Schyler has combined their published work with additional resources provided by their collaborators, to create a multifaceted representation of the southern border that is both visually captivating and informative.

This Story Map begins by defining what a borderland is and identifies specifically which border region will be the focus of this project. Although viewers could infer from the images and locations featured throughout the Story Map, the creator made a responsible decision by explicitly outlining the geographic scope of this project. Additionally, Schyler provided historic and ecological background into this region, which further contextualizes the geographic scope for viewers. Within this introductory section, Schyler also communicates the purpose of this project. Altogether, this first section primes viewers to absorb the content that is to follow, and assists in framing their interpretations.

The actual content is divided into eight main subjects: Tijuana, Migration, Sonoran Desert, San Pedro, Sky Islands, Chihuahua, Big Bend, and Lower Rio Grande. Each section can be accessed by scrolling through the Story Map, or by selecting a desired section from the drop-down menu at the top of the screen. Each section includes comprehensive descriptions of the political and ecological history of each region. Original images by Schyler correspond to each historical and geographical description and enhance the immersive experience. Viewers can associate an actual place to the narrative they read, thereby further identifying or sympathizing with the changing realities of the southern border. Schyler has also made this project available in Spanish.  The translated version of the information that does not compromise the format or connotations of descriptions for each town. I think this is an admirable and conscious effort to serve the regional audience.

The “Migration” section incorporates exceptional uses of digital tools to illustrate human experiences. This section includes a digital map that computes the number of migrant deaths in Arizona since 1981. This map is followed by a real-world account of one of these deaths through interviews and photos. The creator has not specified a clear chronological scope. Within each section, one can see that Schyler includes political history throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. I think the decision to organize the information by location or topic rather than by decade strengthens each individual narrative. Forgoing a timeline presents each region as active, unique moving parts within a larger narrative. Furthermore, this casts the environment as a new lens from which to analyze history.

“Migration” section of Embattled Borderlands

While I appreciate the utility of the drop-down menu, the introductory section and purpose of Embattled Borderlands is not included in this tool. Viewers could dive into the content without reviewing vital background context and not fully grasp the overall goal of this project. Furthermore, this project is missing a dedicated ‘about’ section. More information about Krista Schyler can be found at the very end of the story map, but this tidbit is informal and does not provide much scholastic background into the project. Nor can this be accessed directly through the drop-down tool.

Although the creator refrains from injecting a blatant political objective or interpretation throughout the Story Map, each section highlights the failures and injustices of American policies. Furthermore, Schyler encourages viewers to “take action” and offers ways to engage in the political conversation at the local and national level. While no political ideology is explicitly being pushed, including these resources may suggest to some that there is something wrong with the policies viewers have just encountered. However, I also think this is a way to empower individuals to also view themselves as significant pieces to the larger narrative.

Through Embattled Borderlands, Krista Schylerinvites viewers to examine border politics through the lenses of culture and the environment. Schyler and their collaborators have crafted an inclusive, informative, and personal illustration of local realities caught in between national politics. This effort is an example of effective cross-field collaboration facilitated through the means of Digital Humanities. This Story Map could be most useful for a wide range of professionals and academics within history, politics, environmental fields. At the same time, the language and content are familiar, therefore accessible enough to be grasped by local communities.  

Digital History Review: Vintage San Antonio – a photo history

View of the Majestic Theatre in the 1950's
View of the Majestic Theatre in the 1950’s
Photo courtesy of Vintage San Antonio Facebook Page

San Antonio recently celebrated its 300-year “birthday.” Birthday is in quotation marks because we know that 300 years ago was not when San Antonio just popped up out of the earth. Three hundred years ago Spain founded San Antonio de Padua on the date that recognizes the saint. Photography has been around a couple of hundred years and has since captured a relatively new style of history. This new style of history is a photo-history.

Occasionally, a reader may come across a new stream of images on their timeline based on a follow or a re-post. That is what happened in this case. Casually scrolling through a Facebook timeline, can bring a user upon a photo of San Antonio from the early 1940s or an image of a Battle of Flowers Parade photo from a few years ago or 20 years ago. The findings are usually unique.

Vintage San Antonio is a Facebook page, created in 2013 that features photos of San Antonio from just about every year range of the historic city’s timeline. A scroller of social media will most likely not come across a portrait of themselves but could see a photo of a loved one from years past. The page is an excellent way for an individual to reminisce over a pastime that has faded in many parts of the city.

The photos included on the page have a broad audience including students, historians, San Antonio natives, those visiting the historic city and a wealth of other page visitors. Depending on the scope of a visit to the page, the audience can broaden further.
The page design is the same as every other Facebook page due to the inability to change the layout or color settings of the page. How the administrator’s post to “Vintage San Antonio – a photo history” is simple and draws users straight to the page through organic impressions. The page is easily accessible and responsive on most internet-accessible devices.

This page is sufficient in its use of digital media. The page operators request photos from the public to be sent in with as much information that can be shared to send along with them. Some images are scanned and shared by the administrators of the page.
Mentioning the administrators of the page led to questioning who the administrators are. Searching through the page did not reveal the page owners ( an update to this post will include the creators once a response to a message sent comes through).

This Facebook page is a page that is frequent for inspiration of photos and ideas for writing topics. Hopefully, readers of this blog post can use this Facebook page for the same inspiration that others have.

Tool Test: Airtable

Airtable Logo

Let’s talk tables. Tables for everything! Tables

Let us talk tables. Tables are for everything! Tables are for projects! Tables are for birthdays! Tables are for eating on! No. No. All jokes aside, tables are amazing tools that, if used the right way, can maximize efforts and can maximize productivity.
My professor at St. Mary’s University, Dr. Lindsey Wieck, introduced me to this innovative application, and I have been using it ever since.

“Airtable” has a way of helping teams track and manage projects. That is how I use it, of course.

When I approached the idea of using “Airtable” as a tool for project management, I was not thinking of historical advantages. I was not thinking of how I could access this fantastic tool in the future. My thought process around using “Airtable” was simple. The application was cute, free, and it worked. Using apps like Google Docs, Slack, and Skype, verified for me that collaborative apps were probably the way to go. This assumption has proven itself and paid off in dividends.

Now to the use of the app itself. “Airtable” is excellent. The version of the application that I will refer to here is the free version that has some restrictions, but I will lay those out here. The paid version of this tool grants users the rights to “blocks” that allow users the capability to change text colors, send text messages, integrate with other applications, etc. There are a few different options that the paid version unlocks, but those pieces were not really deciding factors in using the web-based client, so I haven’t included them here for that reason.

Using Airtable as a simple archive-tracker can do wonders. While I was tracking submissions for requests for photography, I was also storing photos from each photo shoot that could help me create a timeline in the future.

I have had the great opportunity of being invited to events and cultural happenings in San Antonio and will continue to be. These events provide me with insight and opportunity. These events also provide me with photos of a ton of fascinating subjects that represent a culture that is seen throughout the historic, 300-year-old city in Texas. The application has helped me track these events, the photos, and the contacts that I have made throughout this journey thus far.

The development of the program has and will continue to develop my workflow and can do the same for any user that is new to the system. This system also has ways to help track historical events and photos and will continue to do so for other users.

Tool Test: Adobe Indesign

Pre-K 4 SA Milestones

The cool thing about being a graphic designer for the beautiful City of San Antonio is that learning new things is a daily adventure. I work for Pre-K 4 SA, a corporation that began by through the ideas of some smart individuals that understood that early childhood education was the way to ensure a change in the infrastructure and workforce of San Antonio. Sure enough, those brainiacs were right.

I have the distinct pleasure to work under the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sarah Baray in a capacity that allows me to take the knowledge I have learned and use technology to convey a story or a message that is easy to understand but simple enough to engage a general audience.

Tools. Being a graphic designer does not always guarantee specific software. Being a graphic designer doesn’t always guarantee creative freedom. Being a graphic designer, in my case, did somewhat guarantee what I was going to be given to facilitate better the work that I was doing.

That said, Adobe Illustrator was a must in the world of graphic design work and let me tell you, Adobe Illustrator has become my best friend. To help an audience visualize history is no simple feat. If working with an organization, then ensuring that creations match a standard of branding can be difficult.

I started with a pallet of colors. A shade of red, a shade of blue, yellow, green, and another blue filled the color palette of my Adobe Illustrator window. Then I looked at backgrounds and fills and fortunately enough, we have a handful of those (relatively the same, but with different colors). I also started with a size. This particular project was to be made to fit on a powerpoint slide.

After determining the graphic elements that included, I began to discover the slides of historical information presented in the past and worked with the CEO and my supervisor to prepare a list of historic milestone that the organization wanted to share with the council.

I placed the pieces into a linear fashion and began typing. Each part of the document split into several, and each layer had a process to access the objects. That said, I was frustrated about halfway through the project. Repetitive clicking was quickly becoming annoying, and even though I had a more extended timeframe for this project, I was able to piece together every piece to create a beautiful graphic that is now a base timeline until our next significant milestone occasion.

This project (and tool) helped me understand the need to be concise and still informative with historical graphics. Too many words would not have left this specific piece looking beautiful and polished. The project altogether was a blast, but the tool, that was not.

I have got to admit that Adobe Illustrator is easy to use the tool once played with enough, and once the user has spent countless hours on Youtube to determine best practices. The user interface is confusing unless you are used to Adobe Creative Suite products like Photoshop or Indesign. To correctly save documents, there is no easy “save” button. There is an export button, a save as, and an extraction button; all of which have different uses. If the files need to be accessed on a different computer or server, then there is also a packaging option that downloads all photos, fonts, and other media to a folder and allows other users to edit.

Adobe Illustrator is a great tool when used correctly, but without several weeks of playing with the application or several projects that require testing techniques, it is not so easy to pick up by your average Joe Shmoe.

Digital History Review of the Morning Edition (NPR)

Every morning I walk up to my desk and take a seat. I could have twelve different things pending that need my attention, but I take the time to sit and visit NPR or National Public Radio to hear the daily release of the top news from the day before.

I am not positive that this site is a digital history project per se, but I am positive about the information that the website does provide and what I know already.

What I know is that the information shared is non-partisan, meaning that it does not sway left or right in terms of a political party. I also know that thousands of people listen to NPR using a multitude of mediums, but in this review, I will be talking about the NPR website. The website is my platform of review. The site itself is only a facilitator to access the podcast.

What is interacted with is not as much the website as it is the content. For the most part, the content is being released in the form of a podcast. The podcast I am referring to is titled “The Morning Edition.” The podcast’s name is the morning edition because it’s released every morning. The website that leads the listener to the podcast is an easy-to-use website that helps users access a variety of information. There are podcasts with transcriptions, articles written, interviews recorded, and a multitude of other great ideas on this site. The Morning Edition is just another one of these resources.

I am going to refer to this popular podcast as a digital history project for a couple of reasons. The first reason for referring to “The Morning Edition” as a digital history project is due to the medium being used. As a podcast that is digitally recorded, the digital aspect is fulfilled. In terms of what makes it historical in nature, the answer is obvious. All of the podcast recordings are saved in their digital forms and can be accessed in the future. The topics that the podcast covers almost always have some sense of historical significance which just adds to my justification.

The site and podcast have a friendly interface. Once at the homepage of the original website, all one would need to do is hover over the tab labeled “Shows & Podcasts). Once the dropdown menu appears, the “The Morning Edition” overlay will show and once that button is clicked, the podcast is loaded and populated.

After populating the podcast for that day, the listener is given a breakdown of the podcast in pieces. If one would feel more inclined to listen to the show in their own order, they would have the ability to do so. If a listener only wanted to listen to one segment, and not hear the rest, that would also be an option. The use of the digital medium is more than acceptable. Even when trying to access the podcast on my phone, the user interface is easy to work with and has some obvious navigation.

The audience for this podcast is listed as “morning drive time”. Morning drive time means the average person driving their car to work in the morning. My assumption is that more people listen to the podcast at work, the way I do, but I can’t be too sure without making simple assumptions.

This show started in 1979 by Bob Edwards and has survived decades of listening and controversy. Edwards would leave “The Morning Edition” in 2004 to be succeeded by a new voice. The show now has 3 hosts and runs until 12:00 P.M. some days.

The show is a great way to engage individuals in national history and to stay updated on the news that affects a broader audience. I don’t doubt that the morning edition will last until way past it’s 100 year anniversary in 2079.

Digital Review of “Equity Maps”

Equity Maps is a teaching tool that allows the teacher or presenter to track how frequently and how long a participant in a conversation takes part. The site not only follows the talk but also records it in a way that is easy for playback and sharing. This is a downloadable application for smart devices with wifi capabilities. You can find the application by visiting or by searching “Equity Maps” in google play or the Apple app store.

The application has a nice user interface and addresses client needs by offering different display options. The tabs in the application are easy to use and follow basic visual requirement needs. There is a high contrast background with dark letters and plenty of colors spread evenly. The structure of the app makes it easy to navigate through. Unfortunately, the application does not have a completely free version but the demo version did work as expected and was quite easy for me to maneuver around.

The design of this application does not look very original, to me becasue it reminds me of quickbooks or other financial strategy applications. The application is pretty responsive to ipads but not to phones. The ammount of features wouldnt fit on the screen and with the option of having up to 40 students, it seems non-pragmatic.

This application is pointed towards a specific audience set. Teachers are the intended audience for the app, based on the first view of the website and if you want to be specific, teachers interested in equity in the classroom are the intended buyers of this $1.99 app which is available on the Apple app store. The other audience specified by the app website is “facilitators, administrators, business start-ups and instructional coaches to provide a dynamic way to increase reflection and affect change.”

Equity Maps does something I have not seen done before. It tracks and records based on student genders, and where they are seated in the classroom as well as how long they talk and participate in the conversation. Technically, this could be done on another medium like paper or a board but it would not be as quick and easy to change. It seems to be a good application and has value to the results.

The application was founded by Dave Nelson, who had 29 years of experience in the field of education. He is from Oregon but is currently a coordinator and teacher in Greece. The creation of the website was done by George Sachpatzidis, who is a software engineer and solutions architect.

It is in my opinion that this application is helpful and can be used in a pragmatic way but the applicatiom is not necessary to achieve the same goals. Personally, I would take the ads in the application in order to not have to pay for the premium version. The interesting thing about this application is that there is no indication how this app can continue to evolve and when looking back on the older versions of the cite, it seems the site itself hasnt evolved either.

Take some time to check out Equity Maps and decide for yourself!

Tool Test: Story Maps

Sleeter, S. Michael. “Southwest History Project.” StoryMap JS.

            I worked with Storymap JS for this tool test.  The site allows you to take pictures and mark where they are from on a map.  It has a space of a caption and you can cite the source of the picture too.  There is a headline that you can write to name the picture or place, depending on how you are setting up the story.  Below the headline box is a place for text.  This box can be utilized in several different ways.  The most obvious one is to tell that part of the story for that picture.  It can also be used to simply describe the picture or the place that is being shown.  Finally it can be used to give information about the history of the area featured in the picture.   This is a great way to organize pictures or to use pictures to tell a story that is connected to locations.  The site is easy to use and the maps are simple to put together.

For this test I used pictures that I took in conjunction with the Southwest history project.  I wanted some primary source material that I controlled the rights too just to make things easier.  I laid out the pictures into a kind of tour of the area that people could use to guide themselves to important sites in the district.  I added a little bit of text as part of the trial, I will go back in fill in the historical research that I have done on these places to bring the tour up to professional quality.  Also I could have united the places by telling a story.  Not just having people travel through the space of the district, but traveling through the time as well.  That will be something I consider when I revise this project. 

This program is a real good tool for both professional digital historians and casual ones.  Students learning about history can also put this site to good use as a way to present projects they have worked on.  The photos were easy to upload, but they had to be the right size.  I had to crop all the photos I took because of the size limits.  The other issue I had was that you could only have one photo per slide.  This is annoying if you wanted to display multiple photos of a place.  You would have to set up multiple markers at one site.

I look forward to revising my test project and using this site in future projects to help people understand the history of space.  I am a strong believer in that you need to understand geography to have a full grasp of history.  This is one more tool to help people accomplish that goal.