— Andrea Roberts, PhD (@FreeBlackTX) October 19, 2018
I presented on Advocate Recovered at Intentionally Digital Intentionally Black conference sponsored byThe AADHum Initiative at the University of Maryland. The conference follows a line of inquiry that makes sense if you are familiar with the theory and practice associated with digital humanities work. The organizers are moving black people from the margin to the center of the conversation. As a result, the digital’s role as space of empowerment, a space of counterpublic activism that shape ideology of activism is made clear. My digital work is tied to a praxis of community engagement and historical recovery that is hyperlocal. As a generative digital practice, I have a cluster of the digital projects that share at their core, an engagement with Hannibal Square, the historic black community in Winter Park, Florida. My proposal said that I would explore “the impact of generative digital scholarship to document and illuminate the black experience in Winter Park, Florida. Building on a community engagement and experiential learning model that positions the classroom as a critical making platform, this presentation documents how archival research and digital exhibits focused on African Americans in Central Florida aligns with broader questions of heritage, memory, and power. This presentation will discuss how utilizing archival research to create digital and public history projects such as Advocate Recovered, a digital reconstruction of an African-American newspaper or Every Tongue Got to Confess, a podcast project exploring communities of color document networks of economic, social, and political power rooted in the black experience.”
Taking into account how digital practice needs to evolve in the context of the dynamic culture at MSU, this presentation concentrated on Advocate Recovered as an example of how digital pedagogy and research in the local context can intersect with broader historical questions. Adopting a digital practice allow for students and the community to see something about the black past in Winter Park, that emphasized a wider truth about the black experience in the South. As I noted in my presentation, the experience in Winter Park highlights broader trends and the Advocate project can be a space to understand how race politics evolved in the local context as Republicans power decline and biracial cooperation was marginalized.
The opening remarks for the event can be viewed below.