AFAS Professor Ward serves as Scholar in Residence on Pursuing Justice Bus Tour

Professor Ward worked with WashU students and Olin Library Data Services to develop a digital "Trip Tik" supporting reflection and learning on Pursuing Justice bus tour through Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama

AFAS Professor Geoff Ward recently served as Scholar in Residence on the Pursuing Justice bus tour organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis and other community partners. The "Criminal Justice Education Series" tour visited the Equal Justice Initiative memorial and museum and Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Sustainable Equity, LLC in Oxford, the Civil Rights Reading Room at Nashville Public Library, and Ivers Square in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The tour was the culminating program in a Criminal Justice Education Series focused on educating the public about Civil Rights and Mass Incarceration, and encouraging legislative and other advocacy in Missouri. 

Professor Ward worked with students and library staff at WashU to create a digital resource - this Storymap called "Pursuing Justice" - to support reflection and discussion along (and beyond) the route. He describes the tool as a digital "Trip Tik" useful in contextualizing that journey and others. He was inspired to create the tool in a conversation with collaborator David Cunningham, professor and chair of Sociology at Washington University, where they discussed the eroneous tendency to think about these histories and legacies as peculiar to the deep south and only accessible through museums.

Recalling the paper AAA "Trip Tik" he'd relied on as a step-by-step guide on long road trips, Ward set out to develop this digital resource using interactive maps, narratives, images, and other information to "activate" the commemorative landscape the group would travel through, rendering the bus and its whole route a site conscience. "By making some of these histories and legacies more visible and accessible," he says, "we can better understand and acknowledge the presence of this past, and better commit to anti-racism and pursuing equal justice." 

The StoryMap is an extension and application of The Racial Violence Archive, a digital resource for research, teaching and intervention into histories and legacies of racist violence. Ward thanks the Data Services team at Olin Library, Washington University in St. Louis, and especially Dorris Scott (ArcGIS support) and Bill Winston (StoryMap support), and undergraduate research assistants Chioma Chidume and Jakyla Willis in the School of Arts and Sciences for their contributions to the project. 

Image credits:

- Black Americans displaced from East St. Louis line up to report property losses and request aid following the 1917 pogrom (Courtesy of Missouri Historical Society).
- Missouri column at National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama (photo by Geoff Ward).