Detailed Assignment for StoryMaps, by Sureshi Jayawardene

The project itself must focus on a US city of your choice where African Americans have made considerable contributions to the culture, character, and social climate of the urban space. Your StoryMaps must then be developed to highlight 5-8 aspects of the city in order to create balance in the narrative. These aspects include: the city’s founding, any early industrial or agricultural emphases, processes or phases of development, major infrastructure, what this city is currently known for, shifts in demographics, significant legislative shifts, major debates and/or contemporary issues, city planning efforts, policy concerns, future outlooks, and so forth. These should be both historical and contemporary in nature. To build your narrative, you will need to consult 6-7 sources, the majority of which need to be academic (i.e., peer-reviewed journal articles, academic monographs, chapters in edited volumes/anthologies). Graduate students will need to use 8-12 sources. This assignment requires a mix of maps, images, videos, and texts to illustrate your narrative.

The following are several components of the project that will be due at different points in time. Each of these is designed to help you build and work through your project during the course of our time together.

  1. 500-word StoryMaps Project Conceptualization: Start by thinking about a city/urban space wherein Black life has historically flourished and African American contributions to that city’s development have been notable. Focus on a city of your choosing and describe in 500 words how you plan to formulate a StoryMaps that tells a story about the Black urban experience there using a combination of text, maps, images, video, and even audio. To do this, you will need to provide context and background African Americans in this city by focusing on the historical and contemporary factors contributing to the city’s urban landscape, culture, and life. Your conceptualization should aim to focus on the 5-8 different aspects of the city. Consider what types of media (maps, images, video, and audio) you might use to enhance and further illustrate the textual parts of your StoryMaps. Graduate Students: same as above.
  2. Annotated Bibliography: In addition to the visual dimension of the project, you must also turn in an annotated bibliography using no less than 6-7 sources. The majority of these sources must be academic (i.e. academic books, peer-reviewed journal articles, edited volumes, etc.). At least 2 of them should be from the course readings. Write 1 paragraph for each source, describing in your own words the author’s central arguments, findings, methods, and theoretical frameworks used. You should also explain how each source fits into your StoryMaps project and how exactly YOU are using it. A sample annotated bibliography is available in the Canvas course page under “Files” in the “StoryMaps” folder. Graduate Students: Your annotated bibliography should include 8-12 sources, most of which should be academic and at least 3 of which should be from the course.
  3. Ongoing Learning Exhibit: This is an ongoing weekly discussion forum to share your progress with the StoryMaps project. Each week, you will need to post something you are working on for your StoryMaps project. There will be a prompt made available for each week. You are also required to comment on one other person’s post with a question, comment, or helpful tip/strategy. Graduate Students: same as above.

* W1: Screenshot of SDSU ArcGIS login page* W2: Look at sample StoryMaps from AFRAS 421 students in the past and read about the different uses of StoryMaps. Describe in 100 words one thing that feels overwhelming about the project and/or tool and one thing that excites/intrigues you about the project and/or tool. Comment on two classmates’ posts. * W3: Go through each item in the “StoryMaps Tutorials” module and complete the StoryMaps template with ideas for each selected aspect. Include sources and accompanying media. Comment on two classmates’ posts. *W4: Watch tutorials for how to create an express map, present disaggregated demographic data, using the swipe right tool, and embedding media. Practice making an express map highlighting two areas/buildings/historic sites and mark them with pins. Describe these markers and comment on two classmates’ posts. *W5: Revisit tutorials and videos for how to build a StoryMaps; start assembling your StoryMaps. Use the discussion thread to post any problems or issues experienced as you work on this. If no issues, then post what’s working well. 

  1. StoryMaps Virtual 1-on-1s: I will host 30-minute one-on-one sessions every Friday between 11am and 1pm. You will need to sign up for at least one session with me to go over any issues and troubleshooting needs you may have regarding your StoryMaps project. My sessions are by appointment on Fridays, starting May 29th. You do not have to be experiencing some problem with the tool or your project to participate in this. This session will also be a good opportunity for us to connect about how your project is coming along; it is a way for us to brainstorm and/or troubleshoot together. You will receive a message through Canvas reminding you to sign up. Graduate Students: same as above.
  1. Finalized StoryMaps Link and Peer Engagement: This is a discussion forum where you will post the link to your completed and finalized StoryMaps project after you have made any final adjustments, proofread, and ensured all necessary citations are included. In order for your project to be accessible to the rest of the class, you have to make sure you click “Publish” on the top right of your StoryMaps project and then select “Everyone (Public)” in the dropdown menu for sharing settings. When you post your link to the forum, you also need to provide the following:
    1. A description in 150 words of why you chose your particular city and what the most interesting aspect of Black life in this city was for you.
    2. Take a look at 02 peers’ StoryMaps projects (click on their links and go through their projects) and then leave a comment, kudos, or question as a reply to their link and description post. Graduate students: same as above.
  1. Self-Evaluation: Each student will evaluate themselves in terms of the work required for successful execution of this assignment. A link to the self-evaluation will be made available during finals week and must be completed during this time. Graduate students: same as above. 
  • Tech Support for StoryMaps: 
    • SDSU Digital Humanities Center, Contact: Dr. Pamella Lach, DH Librarian,

Student Projects

Student projects from Summer 2020, made in StoryMaps, inProfessor Sureshi M. Jayawardene’s Africana Studies 421: “Black Urban Experience”course.

The Story of Black Cleveland, OH by Jordon Smith

Our Town, Defaulted and Detached by Kori Skillman

The Soul of Baltimore by Latoria Simmons

Straight Outta Compton by Mckayla Shelton

New Orleans, A Sonic Culture by Robert Sanchez

Memphis: The First Black Mecca by Juliana Salazar

Race to Freedom in Atlanta by Charlie Reid

Los Angeles: The City of Angels by Souha Omar

Savannah, GA by Moni Muanankese

Little Mississippi by Blake Motley

New York City by Maryan Mohamed

Becoming New Orleans by Saprienyae Lloyd

Detroit, Black Urban Experience in the Motor City by Deaglan Halloran

Dallas, the City of Blacks by Jonathan Hammi

Los Angeles, The Rise of Black Culture by Robert Johnson

Tulsa, Black Wall Street by Adrenis Jackson

New York, The Real Black Experience by Inigo Isusi

Atlanta by Cesar Garcia

Detroit, A City of Movers and Shakers by Jaedan Ford

Oakland, A Northern Californian Black Urban Experience by Timia Drew

Black Harlem by Arianna Cruz

The African American Experience in Los Angeles by German Cortez

Black Urbanization in Motor City by Jasper Chong

Los Angeles, the City of Black Angels by Aquoi Belisle

Birmingham, AL by Robert Aviles

Chocolate City by Aliyah Armstrong-Welch