Post 3: Story Map Analysis

The story map that I have chosen for this week’s analysis is Mapping the Spread of American Slavery. The goal of this story map is to quantify just how many slaves were kept in the United States from the years 1790 to 1860. The creator of the map goes into great detail in providing the information on a county by county basis. Each of the counties on the map are coloured from white to a dark red to visualize the population of enslaved people in each area throughout the country. The number of slaves per county range from 0 in some of the northern states to 100,000 in the deep south. Along the bottom of the story map is a sliding time scale which the user can slide along a timeline to show the evolution and spread of the slave trade away from the costal regions and west, toward the Mississippi river delta, Alabama, and Texas. The scale allows the user to stop in a specific time period that may be of interest to them and at the same time the zoom effect that is used for this map enables us to look at the slave trade through both a large scale national level as well as on a smaller scale on a state by state or even county by county basis.

The Spread of US Slavery A negative aspect of this story map is that the creator decided to present the information on a format of only displaying population numbers and place names. While not necessarily a bad thing, I think that there is a missed opportunity where the creator could have written about specific events throughout the timeline as the user scrolls across as well as giving information about specific areas and why these places, specifically, were populated in the ways that they were. Overall I would say that this map is very informative and gives a large amount of research information relating to the topic, the map leaves users to search elsewhere for additional information and could be vastly improved by adding stories and writing to the numerical information.

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