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Anti-Racism, #BlackLivesMatter, and Civic Action

Readings and resources on topics of anti-racism, white supremacy, abolition and prisons, policing, protest, and civic activism.

This page provides a selection of datasets and digital humanities projects that can be used for research on anti-racism, #BlackLivesMatter, and civic action. If you need help with accessing or using any of these data or projects, or need help finding data, please contact the Digital Scholarship Center at datahelp@gmu.edu.

Data & Digital Humanities Projects

Black Lives Matter Opinion Data (Roper Center)
Collection of "80 Years of Black Americans’ Public Opinion and How the U.S. Public Views Black America." Scroll through the narrative information to access the data. George Mason University is a member institution. 

CivicLEADS  (ICPSR)
Civic Learning, Engagement, and Action Data Sharing (CivicLEADS) provides infrastructure for researchers to share and access high-quality datasets which can be used to study civic education and involvement. George Mason is an ICPSR member institution. Follow this link for instructions to create a MyData account.

Data on Black History (ICPSR)
Data in the ICPSR archive that offer glimpses into the system of buying and selling humans that persisted in the American south from 1619 to 1865. George Mason is an ICPSR member institution. Follow this link for instructions to create a MyData account.

Economics of American Negro Slavery Series (ICPSR)
Data are provided on slave sale transactions, and personal characteristics of individuals appearing in group sale transactions (wherever possible), including characteristics of one "principal slave of record", and characteristics of children sold in a group with the principal slave of record. George Mason is an ICPSR member institution. Follow this link for instructions to create a MyData account.

Hate News Index (ProPublica)
Lists media reports, collected by Google News, about hate crimes and bias incidents. The entire dataset can be downloaded.

National Survey of Black Americans Series (ICPSR)

The series was developed to address the limitations in the existing research literature on the study of Black Americans. It seeks to provide an appropriate theoretical and empirical approach to concepts, measures, and methods in the study of Black Americans. The size and representativeness of the sample permit systematic investigation of the heterogeneity of the adult Black population. The series furnishes data on major social, economic, and psychological aspects of Black American life.

Open Policing Project (Stanford University)
On a typical day in the United States, police officers make more than 50,000 traffic stops. The Stanford team is gathering, analyzing, and releasing records from millions of traffic stops by law enforcement agencies across the country.

Philadelphia Social History Project: Pennsylvania Abolition Society and Society of Friends Manuscript Census Schedules, 1838, 1847, 1856 (ICPSR)
Initially taken in 1838 to demonstrate the stability and significance of the African American community and to forestall the abrogation of African American voting rights, the Quaker and Abolitionist census of African Americans was continued in 1847 and 1856 and present an invaluable view of the mid-nineteenth century African American population of Philadelphia. 

Police Shootings Database (Washington Post)
In 2015, The Washington Post began to log every fatal shooting by an on-duty police officer in the United States. In that time there have been more than 5,000 such shootings recorded by The Post. Download the data.

Prison Policy Initiative Data Toolbox
All of their reports and many of their briefings compile previously unavailable or incompatible data. For the benefit of other advocates and researchers who want to do new things with their data, the Prison Policy Initiative compiled their unique datasets for sharing.

Quantitative Data Coded from the Federal Writers' Project Slave Narratives, United States, 1936-1938 (ICPSR)

This project entailed recording and coding information from slave narratives gathered as part of the Federal Writers' Project. Between 1936 and 1938, federal authorities organized teams of interviewers in seventeen states who gathered the recollections of over two thousand former slaves. The typescript of these interviews, running to more than ten thousand pages, was deposited in the Library of Congress and has been available on microfiche for many years. Information on the actions, attitudes, beliefs and experiences of slaves was coded from 2,358 slave narratives.

Race and Ethnicity Research (Pew Research Center)
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. They conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. 

Racial Equity GIS Hub (ESRI)
ESRI’s Racial Equity GIS Hub is an ongoing, continuously expanding resource hub to assist organizations working to address racial inequities. The Racial Equity GIS Hub includes data layers, maps, applications, training resources, articles on best practices, solutions, and examples of how ESRI users from around the world are leveraging GIS to address racial inequities. For updates see What's New in the Racial Equity GIS Hub.

Resource Center for Minority Data (ICPSR)
The changing demographic composition has expanded the scope of the U.S. racial and ethnic mosaic. As a result, interest and research on race and ethnicity has become more complex and expansive. Initially, ICPSR tapped its archives to assemble existing data files that focused upon communities of color. Since the late 1990's, there has been a marked increase in studies and projects on more minorities communities and exploring a wider range of experiences and relationships. George Mason is an ICPSR member institution. Follow this link for instructions to create a MyData account.

Three-Generation National Survey of Black American Families, 1979-1981 (ICPSR)

This dataset was created by merging information collected from three questionnaires that form part of the NATIONAL SURVEY OF BLACK AMERICANS, 1979-1980 (ICPSR 8512). The three questionnaires were (1) the original cross-sectional survey questionnaire, (2) the reinterview questionnaire, and (3) the family members questionnaire. All three were administered from 1979-1981. The unit of analysis in this dataset is three generations of a family, or a "triad." Each unit or record has identical variables for the three individuals making up a triad (i.e., a grandparent, parent, and child). There are 510 triads in this dataset. 

Century of Black Mormons (J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah)

Century of Black Mormons is a digital history database designed to document and recover what was lost—the identities and voices of Black Mormons during the faith’s first one hundred years (1830 to 1930). The LDS Church has never tracked membership by race and so official LDS baptism and confirmation records are not always useful. Yet documents do exist that have allowed us to identify Black Latter-day Saints, name them, and collect basic biographical information about them.

Colored Conventions Project (P. Gabrielle Foreman, Jim Casey, and project team)

From 1830 until well after the Civil War, African Americans gathered across the United States and Canada to participate in political meetings held at the state and national levels. A cornerstone of Black organizing in the nineteenth century, these “Colored Conventions” brought Black men and women together in a decades-long campaign for civil and human rights. See also the Digital Records of the Colored Conventions Project

CSDE Lynching Database (University of Washington)
Information resources for people interested in the history of racial violence in the American South. Download tables with the statistical analyses presented in the book Lynched: The Victims of Southern Mob Violence.

Digital Black History (Olivia Peacock)

This website is a free, searchable directory for online Black history projects. This ongoing project was created to collect information about these digital Black history projects in order to benefit historians, genealogists, and family historians who are researching the lives of Black individuals and families.

Divided Union (Janine Hubai and Laura Brannan)

During the summer of 2020 in the U.S., the world witnessed a racial reckoning: activists protesting the removal of Confederate monuments, the changing of schools and military base names that honor former enslavers, questioning the history of famous figures who had connections to slavery and white supremacy. “Divided Union,” a website using ArcGIS and WordPress, responds to this reckoning by mapping Confederate statues’ effects on space and contextualizing the historical complexities of Ulysses Grant and Confederate names in military spaces.

Documenting Ferguson (Washington University in St. Louis)

Documenting Ferguson is a freely available resource that seeks to preserve and make accessible the digital media captured and created by community members following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014. The project has the ultimate goal of providing diverse perspectives on the events in Ferguson and the resulting social dialogue. Contribute your voice to the discussion by adding your images, videos or personal stories to the collection.

Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade (Michigan State University, University of Maryland, and project team

The Enslaved project team have built a robust, open-source architecture to discover and explore nearly a half million people records and 5 million data points. From archival fragments and spreadsheet entries, we see the lives of the enslaved in richer detail. Users can explore or reconstruct the lives of individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in the historical trade on their site. 

The Georgetown Slavery Archive (Georgetown University)

The Georgetown Slavery Archive is a repository of materials relating to the Maryland Jesuits, Georgetown University, and slavery. This project was initiated in February 2016 by the Archives Subgroup of the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation and is part of Georgetown University's Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation initiative.

Goin' North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia (Janneken Smucker, Charles Hardy, and project team)

Captured in oral history interviews conducted in the 1980s with aging Philadelphians who participated in and witnessed the Great Migration firsthand, these stories tell of both individual lives and collective experiences adapting to a new home in the "City of Brotherly Love." Meet the narrators, hear their stories, and explore the experiences that united those who lived through this journey north.

Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery (Judith Giesberg and project team)

Last Seen is recovering the stories of families separated in the domestic slave trade. You can search thousands of Information Wanted Ads taken out by former slaves to look for your ancestors, help us transcribe these ads, and find out how educators are using these family stories in their classrooms.

Life and Labor Under Slavery: The Jesuit Plantation Project (Sharon M. Leon) 

In 1838 Thomas Mulledy, S.J. signed his name to an agreement selling the 275 enslaved persons who resided on Jesuit-owned estates in Southern Maryland to Louisiana. The sale served as the culmination of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus’s fraught experience with slaveholding in the colonial and early national period. This project focuses on the lives and experiences of the enslaved, rather than on their Jesuit owners. With an eye to the events and relationships that formed the warp and woof of the daily lives of this enslaved community, Sharon Leon has identified the individual enslaved people present in the documentary evidence beginning in the 1740s and situated them within their families and larger community. 

Mapping Prejudice (Kristen Delegard and project team)

Structural barriers stopped many people who were not white from buying property and building wealth for most of the last century. In Minneapolis, these restrictions served as powerful obstacles for people of color seeking safe and affordable housing. They also limited access to community resources like parks and schools. Racial covenants dovetailed with redlining and predatory lending practices to depress homeownership rates for African Americans. Contemporary white residents of Minneapolis like to think their city never had formal segregation. But racial covenants did the work of Jim Crow in northern cities like Minneapolis.

Mapping the Second Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1940 (John T. Kneebone and project team

Mapping the Klan is a rough timeline of the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan between 1915 and 1940. Each red dot shows a local unit or "Klavern." The official numbers for each Klavern indicate a basic chronology for the chartering of the Klaverns, and they also reveal patterns of Klan organizing. This map invites you to learn about the second Klan in your area and across the U.S. and to study the courage of those who opposed the Klan.

On the Books: Jim Crow and the Algorithms of Resistance (University of North Carolina University Libraries)

This website is a text mining project with the goal of discovering Jim Crow and racially-based legislation signed into law in North Carolina between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement (1866-1967). This website lists and contextualizes North Carolina segregation laws for educators and researchers interested in Southern and African American History during the Jim Crow era.

A People's Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland 

This project collects, preserves, and shares the stories, memories, and accounts of police violence as experienced or observed by Cleveland citizens. The archive hopes to provide the Cleveland community--especially survivors of police violence and the families of victims--a safe and secure space to share any testimony, documents, or accounts that narrate or reflect on encounters or effects of police violence in their lives and communities. 

Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archive Project 

Preserve the Baltimore Uprising is a digital repository that seeks to preserve and make accessible original content that was captured and created by individual community members, grassroots organizations, and witnesses to protests against police brutality, vigilantism, and racial injustice and inequality. The project began after the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015. Gray died from injuries sustained while in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland. It has expanded to include subsequent protests and calls for action in Baltimore against systemic racism.

Redlining Richmond (University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab) 

This site is focused on the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) assessment surveys and the map produced for Richmond, Virginia. Running throughout the assessment surveys collected by the HOLC is the issue of race, and this site allows you to investigate the centrality of race in the politics and on the landscape of Richmond in the late 1930s. 

Revisiting Rebellion: Nat Turner in the American Imagination (American Antiquarian Society and New York Public Library's Schomburg Center)

Using print and manuscript collections at the American Antiquarian Society and the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, this exhibition explores portrayals of Turner in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Depictions often reveal less about who Turner was and more about the zeitgeist in which a given Turner was created.

Slave Voyages (Emory University)
The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases are the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world. 

Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora (Henry Lovejoy and project team)

These images have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. The growing collection currently has over 1,200 images. This website is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public - in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World. 

Slavery in the President's Neighborhood (White House Historical Association)

Many people think of the White House as a symbol of democracy, but it also embodies America’s complicated past and the paradoxical relationship between slavery and freedom in the nation’s capital. While there are few written accounts of the enslaved and free African Americans who built, lived, and worked at the White House, their voices can be found in letters, newspapers, memoirs, census records, architecture, and oral histories. By connecting these details from diverse sources, the White House Historical Association seeks to return these individuals to the historical forefront.

The Spirituals Database (Randye Jones)

This database offers searchable access to recorded track information for concert Negro Spiritual settings performed by solo Classical vocalists. The resource contains a selection from a century of historic and contemporary concert spiritual recordings produced on compact discs, long-playing (33 1/3 rpm) albums, 78 rpm records, 45 rpm discs, audio cassettes and streamed audio files, as well as demonstration recordings from musical score collections.

The Spread of US Slavery, 1790-1860 (Lincoln Mullen)

Lincoln Mullen created interactive map of the spread of slavery in the United States from 1790 to 1860. Using Census data available from the NHGIS, the visualization shows the population of slaves, of free African Americans, of all free people, and of the entire United States.

Trump Protest Archive (Eric Nolan Gonzaba)

The Trump Protest Archive is a self-funded digital repository that documents and makes accessible original items of material culture (signs, clothing, and other objects) from protests related to the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald John Trump, and the numerous demonstrations of dissent in its aftermath. The archive seeks photographic contributions from protests in Washington D.C, the wider United States, and from participants across the globe. At the dawn of a new American president, this archive serves to understand the various voices of resistance and their role in shaping a new future.

Visualizing Emancipation (University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab) 

Visualizing Emancipation is a map of slavery’s end during the American Civil War. It finds patterns in the collapse of southern slavery, mapping the interactions between federal policies, armies in the field, and the actions of enslaved men and women on countless farms and city blocks. It encourages scholars, students, and the public to examine the wartime end of slavery in place, allowing a rigorously geographic perspective on emancipation in the United States.

William Still: An African-American Abolitionist (Temple University Libraries)

This project is a collection of digitized archival resources, detailing the life and times of Still and his family, primarily his daughter, Caroline Still Anderson. Covering much of his social and political activities, the collection provides a glimpse into Still’s life, highlighting his accomplishments, fatherhood, family matters, and concerns for the state of affairs of African Americans in the nineteenth century.  This site includes family letters, family photographs and abolitionist pamphlets from the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries.

Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922 (Amardeep Singh)

This site aims to collect poetry, drama, and fiction by African American women between 1900 and 1922. The site explores stylistic, thematic, and social relationships among a small group of writers, as well as the conversations these writers were having with established writers and editors like W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Locke, and William Stanley Braithwaite.

See also: Black Digital Humanities Projects and Resources