An interdisciplinary project that will shed new light on the histories of four Tennessee counties was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with four participants in “Places, Perspectives: African American Community-Building in Tennessee, 1860-1920” first aired March 22 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
The guests are Ken Middleton, digital initiatives librarian and professor at MTSU’s James E. Walker Library; Zada Law, director of the Fullerton Laboratory for Spatial Technology in the university’s Department of Geosciences; Susan Knowles, digital humanities research fellow at the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU; and Jo Ann McClellan, Maury County historian.
You can listen to their conversation via the SoundCloud link above.
Combining historical narratives with interactive maps that link the locations of churches, schools and cemeteries to various primary sources, the project has thus far documented and mapped more than 110 rural communities in Fayette, Greene, Hardeman and Maury counties.
“It’s really to give voice to these rural communities that are not really in history books but have their own leaders, have their own history,” said Middleton, who noted that MTSU student Dravidi Pasha, a major in information systems with a passion for genealogy, also has been a key contributor to the project.
Law can use geographic information systems, also known as GIS; advanced remote sensing analysis software; and wide format scanners to pinpoint specific places.
“One of my roles is to take these historic maps and to use GIS to digitally stretch them across the landscape and try to find points … that reference the modern landscape,” Law said.
“We use that to help find the locations. We use that same technology online to make the story maps.”
For more information on the project, or to submit information for possible investigation, contact Middleton at 615-904-8524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.x