White maps and black votes: GIS and the electoral dynamics of white and African-American voters in the late nineteenth century

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Technological advances in lithography in the mid nineteenth century presented commercial opportunities for American mapmaking companies to create and then supply a market for county landownership maps. As historical documents these maps preserve in exquisite detail the landscape and topography of the counties for which they were produced, locating and naming individual landowners in that colourful tapestry. But the business plan behind these enterprises was to restrict the names inscribed on the map to those landowners most likely to purchase the mapmakers’ fine product. And fine they were. The inevitable result, however, was a map with a particularized presentation of a county’s inhabitants. This chapter shows how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies and methodologies can transform these suspect commercial products into rich historical resources. It demonstrates the utility of a transformed map of Garrard County, Kentucky to discover the spatial patterning and the socio-economic circumstances associated with the exercise of the suffrage by the newly enfranchised African-Americans along with their white allies and opponents in the dark and threatening days during and after the end of Reconstruction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Spatial History
    PublisherRoutledge
    Pages442-461
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9781351584142
    ISBN (Print)9781138860148
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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