Divided Union was built in response to the racial reckoning that took place across the U.S. and globe the summer of 2020, beginning with the protests after George Floyd’s unjust death. Laura Brannan Fretwell and Janine Hubai, colleagues in the PhD program in the History department at George Mason University, discussed how historians and digital public historians could best contribute to and contextualize the current moment of racial reckoning. We were particularly struck by the movements over the summer that protested not only police violence against people of color but also the removal of racially problematic and offensive statues and memorials, such as Confederate statues; places named after people who promoted segregation policies; racially offensive sports teams, etc.
Divided Union is a digital presentation of our individual research papers that attempted to contextualize small moments or topics that came up throughout the racial reckoning of the summer of 2020, particularly the public issue of Confederate memorials and symbolism. The site includes two different exhibits:
- Statues and Residential Space, a spatial history of Richmond’s Monument Avenue
- Confederate Symbols in Military Space, a short history of Confederate names on Army bases
This site and our individual projects are in progress so we welcome any suggestions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Janine Hubai is currently a PhD student in the department of History at George Mason University and has a Master’s Degree in History from UMass Boston. Her research interests include the development of race as an institution and how the advancement of colonial powers influences a nation’s concept of citizenship and individual identity, usually through the lens of military history. Janine has an interest in digital public history, digital storytelling, and photography. You can learn more about her scholarship here.
Laura Brannan Fretwell is a PhD student in the History and Art History department at George Mason University and a graduate research assistant at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. She has a Master’s in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and is interested in gender, race, identity, and memory in the 19th century U.S. She is particularly interested in how these concepts play out in space and place, and so Laura uses a combination of research methodologies such as archival, critical race theory, and digital humanities tools such as mapping, computational history, and using quantitative data. You can learn more about her scholarship here.
Many thanks to the people who helped us with historical content and public and digital history methodologies for creating this site. First, we want to thank Dr. Spencer Crew who guided us through this project and showed much patience as we navigated through the process in an ever changing political landscape. We also want to thank Mills Kelly, Joy Suh, Deepak Sadayampatti Udaykumar, Gabrielle Tayac, Abby Mullen, Lincoln Mullen, Christopher Hamner, and Chris Warren for your many suggestions and conversations.
All have guided us throughout this project. Any mistakes or omissions on this website are entirely of our own.