Gender, Race, and the Culture of Code

This post by Miriam Posner, professor and coordinator of the Digital Humanities program at the University of California, Los Angeles is actually her added response of an original 2012 post titled “Some Things to Think about before You Exhort Everyone to Code.” She had asserted that the “culture of code” excluded women and people of color and then outlined steps for broaching the difficult conversations necessary for improving the digital humanities community. The replies to the first blog post invoked broader arguments about digital humanities, which altered the initial context, so in the second post she merely aimed to clarify.

Having gained hindsight, Posner hoped to differentiate to readers between what women ought to do from what women are(n’t) doing, which is code. The work getting people noticed and employed, after all, is work that shows one can code. “Here, there, and everywhere, we’re being told: A DHer should code! Don’t know how? Learn!” Thus the premise of her argument sounds straightforward enough: middle-class white men tend to have better access to computers and the education of the corresponding skills, so it needs to be acknowledged that structural barriers may stand in the way of diversifying the discipline. I personally could not help but relate to her description of what it’s like for a woman to learn to program (among other male dominated things). “You will immediately be conspicuous . . . it makes you extremely conscious of your mistakes, confusion, and skill level,” regardless of group or online setting. Fair enough.

What must have been controversial and discomforting for others about Posner’s call to action was her frank willingness to be controversial and discomforting. To paraphrase, I think she would say that supporting women and people of color to code is easier said than done. In practice, the crucial difference will be if people sacrifice fairness for the sake of niceness. She asserts that uncomfortable conversations about these issues simply need to happen. Though a potentially bleak prospect, Posner’s post somehow injects humor and optimism. For example, “Step 2: Let’s acknowledge that we all do racist and sexist stuff sometimes. I should know. I do it all the time. All. The. Time. I don’t mean to, and I’m not a bad person, but I do. Let’s just figure out together how we can stop doing this when it counts, when we’re depriving someone of an opportunity to learn or do something important.” I think if an honest, self-effacing, and motivating statement like this generated buzz on the Journal of Digital Humanities, the uncomfortable conversation may hopefully get easier and easier.  Now if there was only a way to make coding itself easier . . .

Miriam Posner, “Think Talk Make Do: Power and the Digital Humanities,” Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 1 (Issue 2), 2012

Savannah’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1876

Primary Sources:

City of Savannah 1876 Annual Report. City Municipal Archives

City of Savannah 1877 Annual Report. City Municipal Archives

Report of the Committee on Sewage and Drainage. May 2, 1866. City Municipal Archive

Swell to May J.F. Wheaton, March 15th 1877. City Municipal Archives

Alexander R. Lawton to Charles P. Greenough, 11 September 1876, Gainesville, Georgia. MS 194 Sarah Alexander Cunningham Collection, Box 1, Folder 5, Item 74 Georgia Historical Society

“The Morbid Anatomy of Yellow Fever.” The British Medical Journal. 1879,

M’Clellan, Ely.  A Study of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1876, as it Affected the State of Georgia. Public Health Pap Rep. 1878; 4: 249–285.  

Waring, James Johnston. The Epidemic at Savannah, 1876: Its Causes, the Measures of Prevention: A Supplement to the Mayor’s Report. 1879.

Secondary Sources:

Crosby, Molly Caldwell. The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History. New York: Berkley Books, 2006.

Denmark, Lisa L. “At the Midnight Hour: Economic Dilemmas and Harsh Realities in Post-Civil War Savannah.” Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 90 Issue 3, 2006.

Ellis, John. H Yellow Fever and Public Health in the New South. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.

Farley, M. Foster. “The Mighty Monarch of the South: Yellow Fever in Charleston and Savannah.” Georgia Review 27 1973.

Goldfield, David R. “The Business of Health Planning: Disease Prevention in the Old South.” The Journal of Southern History vol. 42, no. 4 1976.

Humphreys, Margaret. Yellow Fever and the South. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Thomas, James G.  The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Science and Medicine. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012.

“Yellow Fever.” Georgia Historical Society.

Young, Jeffery R. “Ideology and Death on a Savannah Rice Plantation, 1833-1867.” The Journal of Southern History vol. 59, no. 4 1993.

The Development , Persistence and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880-2010

Andrew A . Beveridge in  “The Development , Persistence and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880-2010″  attempts to illustrates the influx of African Americans in to the north post emancipation. I believe he does an adequate and appropriate job of doing so with his his use of National Historical Geographical Information System (NHGIS) and the evolution on f the Census tracts to do so. He noted that though the depiction has many of African Americans overtime heavily populated particular urban areas in Chicago , that the housing and job markets wasn’t readily available and open to them typically. The congregation of African American though was not bey choice , but was a necessity and serve to be more of a universal support system.One where the community relied upon one another for survival in means of , food , work and fellowship.


With the application og the NHGIS and the Census Tract information he was able to produce map depictions of the evolution over time . This is useful as it works as a historical reference point that shows a change and persistence growth in African American population in one area in respect to others. Over the years the maps show an exponential growth of African American to the Chicago urban areas from the southern region. I believe the application of the GIS system like this is very beneficial to Historians, as they attempt to understand changes in development in terms of urban areas, business and or the construction of universal social programs. The hope is that this information can also be mapped over periods of times to track changes.

Census Data and Population Concentration

Andrew A. Beveridge, “The Development, Persistence, and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880-1920,” in Toward Spatial Humanities: Historical GIS & Spatial History, eds. Ian N. Gregory and Alistair Geddes (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2014), 35-61.


Andrew A. Beveridge’s article in Toward Spatial Humanities begins with a discussion of the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North during the height of Jim Crow segregation. He writes that the purpose of his article is to use the available data from the National Historical Geographical Information System (NHGIS) and analyze the patterns of changes of residential segregation of African Americans.[1] With the advent of the technology of NHGIS, Beveridge was able to produce these visualizations with a computer instead of creating hand-drawn ones. He created visual maps using Census tracts and then compared the city of Chicago with some other cities in the U.S. These tracts are typically used for the larger, more populous cities because they make the census information more manageable and comprehensible. For example, each tract is an average of 8 city blocks in the case of New York City’s more populous regions, but actually vary according to the city. Beveridge was able to use his maps to conclude that a rapid and distinctly segregated residential increase did occur between 1880 to 1960.

See below the maps and the progression of the African American concentration.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.28.43 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.28.48 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.28.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.29.05 PM

This attempt of spatial history is very useful especially when you have the available date for your region of study. As Beveridge pointed out, the census tract data expanded to encompass more of the U.S. over time until 1990 when all of the U.S. used census tracts, therefore, the small urban areas more then likely lack the sufficient manageability of data for this type of project. It would be very interesting to see if something like this could be done for Savannah with the rise of the restoration downtown and the influx of the SCAD students.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.34.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.33.59 PM




[1] Andrew A. Beveridge, “The Development, Persistence, and Change of Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas, 1880-1920,” in Toward Spatial Humanities: Historical GIS & Spatial History, eds. Ian N. Gregory and Alistair Geddes (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2014), 37.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival Bibliography

“St. Patrick in Savannah”, accessed March 27th, 2015,

“A History of Savannah’s St. Patrick’s day parade” last modified March 11th, 2008, accessed March 27th, 2015,

“History of St. Patrick’s Day on River Street” accessed March 27th, 2015,

“The Meaning of Green” C. Austin, accessed March 27th, 2015,

“Parade a Success” Savannah Morning News, March 18th 2007.

“St. Patrick’s with a Southern Accent” Savannah Morning News, March 17th, 1983.

“12 Bars Sited During St. Pat’s” Savannah Morning News, March 24th, 2011.

“Spirit of St. Patrick” Savannah Morning News, March 17th, 1998.

Unsung mayor Malcolm Maclean

Primary Sources:



Encyclopedia of Georgia, 510; Luciana M. Spracher, “Scholars, Soldiers & Friends: Three Generations of Malcolm Maclean” Bonaventure Historical Society, V. 2, No. 4 (Oct., Nov., Dec. 2006)

Savannah Morning News, May 8, 1962.

Savannah Morning News, Aug. 3, 1966.

Stephen G. N. Tuck, Beyond Atlanta: The Struggle for Racial Equality in Georgia, 1940-1980 (University of Georgia Press 2001).

Patrick Novotny, This Georgia Rising: Education, Civil Rights, and the Politics of Change in Georgia in the 1940s (Mercer University Press 2007).

City of Savannah Archives. Mayor Malcom Maclean speeches


Secondary Sources:


Savannah Morning News, January 26, 2001:

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia: Malcolm Roderick Maclean;

The Life and Legacy of Malcolm Maclean
May 25, 2012 ; Presented by Wade W. Herring, II at the Georgia Legal History Foundation CLE event Oglethorpe’s Nightmare: Lawyers in Savannah. Malcolm Roderick Maclean Biography and facts ;

GIS and History

The book opens with Anne Knowles’ point that geographic information systems (GIS) is changing the practice of history.  This book was written in 2002 and Id leave the question open for the debate on whether or not it has in fact change the practice of history.  The application of GIS is very useful , as it it is used to facilitate the mapping of very large qualitative data sets, census data , and social surveys alike. But I want bore you with a third repeated post on what is GIS , and how it is is used , I believe my fellow classmates have done so very succinctly.

I believe it to be true that there are many other computer software such as GIS that are still changing the way we store digitally information and relay it back to the public.  Simply uploading information onto the world wide web is a way to store information , peoples life events and public information is now stored via social media sites, though not the same as GIS exactly but in 2002 none of the social sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter was created. These sites are a hub of solid concrete information about places, individuals even encompassing on the larger site of facebook peoples dislikes and likes. You can and an instant separate friends and or followers by a click of a button in to geographical location , age groups. Some social sites have filters in place where you can identify others using the site by age, height and ethnicity alongside their location.

My argument here is the way we track and practice historically recording information has certainly evolved overtime. GIS and many other sites and software have  been created since the dawn of the internet, and are providing for new and exciting ways to track and record geographical information and so much more. Its been over a decade since Knowles wrote this book , I am interested on what is here take on the application of GIS now. Whats even more exciting is what another decade would bring to the forefront.

World War II in Savannah Bibliography

Primary Sources:

War Time Production and Service in Savannah. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archive. 29 August, 2010.

Chatham County Military Service in World War II (Army). City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archive.

Wartime Service: United States Army: Savannah Army Service Forces Depot (ASF). City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archive.

U-boat 505 visits Savannah. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archive.

World War II on the Savannah Waterfront. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archive.

Conn, Lesley, Immortalizing Savannah’s WWII contribution, Savannah Morning News. 11 November 2009.

Mayle, Marie Carr. World War II Shipyard neighborhood earns historic status, Savannah Morning News. 13 November 2014.

Mobley, Chuck. Savannah native launches account of WWII shipyard, Savannah Morning News. 25 October, 2009.

Phillips, Noelle. War at home, away, Savannah Morning News. 20 August, 2000.

Russell, Barbara W. A World War II paratrooper, James Sapp remembers the sacrifices others made, Savannah Morning News. 14 November, 2006.

Scholarly Sources:
Cope, Tony. On the Swing Shift: Building Liberty Ships in Savannah, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2009.

Fletcher, Michael S. Building Victory and Changing Worlds: The Impact of Shipbuilding on Savannah during World War II. Savannah: Armstrong Atlantic State University Thesis, 2009.

Gorley Bunker, John,  Liberty Ships: The Ugly Ducklings of World War II, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1972.

Lane, Frederick C,  Ships for Victory: A History of Ship Building Under the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II, Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Veasey, Ashley,  Liberty Shipyards: The Role of Savannah and Brunswick in the Allied Victory, 1941-1945,  Savannah, GA: The Georgia Historical Quarterly Vol. XCIII, No.2, summer 2009.

“West Broad Street Urban Development” Bibliography

Primary Sources

“A Hard Thing to Take.” Savannah Morning News, July 13, 1958.

“First Redevelopment Land to Be Sold Soon.” Savannah Morning News, March 12, 1961.

“Interstate Opened.” Savannah Morning News, November 27, 1967.

“Negroes Protest Building Removal.” Savannah Morning News, July 6, 1961.

“Renewal Plan Met Mixed Reaction.” Savannah Morning News, June 13, 1958.

“Tenants Vacate Housing Units.” Savannah Morning News, June 22, 1960.

“Want Act to Clear West Broad Street.” Savannah Evening Press, February 7, 1935.

Law, W.W, Interviewed by Clifford Khun & Timothy Crimmins, 15-16 November 1990, P1990-15, Series E. Black Involvement in Politics, Georgia Government DocumentationProject, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta.

Record Series 3205-040 Savannah Development and Renewal Authority (SDRA) – West Broad Street Appraisals. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia.

Record Series 3121-019, Engineering Department, Savannah Cadastral Survey – Ward Survey Maps. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia.

THE SAVANNAH PHARMACY, 1914 ‐ 2007; A Brief history of the Savannah Pharmacy business, properties, and owners. Prepared by L. Spracher, City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, December 2009.


Secondary Sources

Adams, Frankie V. “The Community-Wide Stake of Citizens in Urban Renewal.” Phylon Quarterly 19, no. 1 (1958): 92–96.

Aiken, Michael, and Robert R. Alford. “Community Structure and Innovation: The Case of Urban Renewal.” American Sociological Review 35, no. 4 (1970): 650–65.

Canty, Donald, Denise Scott Brown, Chester Hartman, Barry Jackson, Arthur Naftalin, John Pastier, Bernard Spring, Allan Temko, and Richard Saul Wurman. “Urban Renewal in America, 1950-1970: A Symposium.” Design Quarterly, no. 85 (January 1, 1972): 18–32.

“Civil Rights. Urban Renewal. Allegation of Conspiracy to Use Eminent Domain Power for Racially Discriminatory Purpose in Urban Renewal Program Does Not State a Federal Claim under Civil Rights Act, 42 U. S. C. § 1983. Green Street Association v. Daley, 373 F.2d 1 (7th Cir. 1967), ‘Cert. Denied’, 387 U. S. 932 (1967).” Harvard Law Review 81, no. 7 (1968): 1568–72.

Cord, Steven. “Urban Renewal: Boon or Boondoggle?” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 33, no. 2 (1974): 184–86.

Gotham, Kevin Fox. “A City without Slums: Urban Renewal, Public Housing, and Downtown Revitalization in Kansas City, Missouri.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 60, no. 1 (2001): 285–316.

Groberg, Robert P. “Urban Renewal Realistically Reappraised.” Law and Contemporary Problems 30, no. 1 (1965): 212–29.

Hoskins, Charles Lwanga. Out of Yamacraw and beyond: Discovering Black Savannah.

——— W. W. Law and His People : A Timeline and Biographies. Savannah, GA: Gullah Press, 2002.

Kovak, Richard M. “Urban Renewal Controversies.” Public Administration Review 32, no. 4 (1972): 359–72.

Lindquist, John H., and Charles M. Barresi. “Ghetto Residents and Urban Politics: Attitudes toward Urban Renewal.” Law & Society Review 5, no. 2 (1970): 239–50.

Nesbitt, George B. “Urban Renewal in Perspective.” Phylon Quarterly 19, no. 1 (1958): 64–68.

Rose, Albert. “The Individual, the Family, and the Community in the Process of Urban Renewal.” The University of Toronto Law Journal 18, no. 3 (1968): 319–29.

Scheuer, James H., Eli Goldston, and Wilton S. Sogg. “Disposition of Urban Renewal Land–A Fundamental Problem in the Rebuilding of Our Cities.” Columbia Law Review 62, no. 6 (1962): 959–91.

Tuck, Stephen G. N. Beyond Atlanta: The Struggle for Racial Equality in Georgia, 1940-1980. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001.

Walker, Nathaniel Robert. “Savannah’s Lost Squares.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 70, no. 4 (2011): 512–31.

GIS and History

In Chapter two of Ann Kelly Knowles novel “GIS and History” Knowles presents the positive functions of GIS, and explains how they can be used to aid historians in the future. During the time this novel was written back in 2002, the amount of historians that were using GIS was already growing at a rapid rate. So what is GIS? GIS is the acronym for geographic information systems, and is described by Knowles as a computer programming system that geographically analyzes census data, social surveys, and other kinds of systematically collected information linked to known geographical units and locations. These programs give researchers the ability to analyze mapped data of a given area. Historian Michael McCormick used these GIS programs to trace the emerging connections of people and places in Europe during the first century. GIS and its approaches are becoming a scholarly practice increasingly recognized as an interdisciplinary subfield within historical studies.


There are several major function GIS use to aid researchers. The first of these functions is history of land use and spatial economy. This method allows historians such as McCormick to see changes in an area due to significant economic or environmental changes. Another function of GIS is its ability to reconstruct landscapes. Researchers are able to use this mapped data to recreate what landscapes and structures looked like in years past. This appears to me to be the most amazing function of GIS. Historians can now actually see through the eyes of the people during the time periods they are studying. The third and final major area of historical GIS is infrastructure projects. This aspect gives historians the ability to discover where previous boundary lines lay, making it possible to discover how large the empires of the past really were.

In the end, these functions seem be incredibly helpful to historians, and it seems they will be progressively more and more relevant as time passes. I know I have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to historical GIS functions, but I have learned enough to understand its significance, and I would like to investigate what else GIS is capable of.