The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has established a collection of digitized material integrated into a map-based website that tracks how urban renewal changed the city of Little Rock in the decades following the Central High School desegregation crisis in 1957.
The University of Arkansas Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture’s, “Mapping Urban Fracture: Charting the Context and Consequence of the Little Rock Central High Crisis Project,” will be led by Deborah Baldwin, associate provost of collections and archives.
The Mapping Urban Fracture project will create a virtual collection comprising approximately 700 new reports and maps created after 1989 and develop an access interface to research spatial segregation with meta and geospatial data. The website includes the digitization and geolocation of maps, architectural drawings, reports, and related photographs to address humanities issues and questions.
The project will create an aggregated collection of digital products that track the history of Little Rock through patterns of residential segregation, urban renewal, public school desegregation plans, and local elections and governance. While scholars will generate sample narratives to interpret the virtual collection, members of the public, particularly teachers and students, can find and create their own stories through the data.
“One of the reasons we wanted to complete this project is to make our collections more accessible to a wide variety of people, and we believed integrating them into a multilayered map on a website would do that,” Dr. Baldwin said. “It is an opportunity for the university to pull together expertise in many different areas and focus them on a project that can inspire a lot of conversation about the development of this city.”
The project is being partially funded by a $325,043 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities