Our blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A personal 'Voyage' to Washington

After being sniffed by security dogs and emptying our pockets down to loose string and chewing gum wrappers, we trudged up two flights of marble staircases, carrying cardboard boxes, easels, and laptops.

Breathless, we arrived at the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room, then gasp again. The room was awe-inspiring—lofty ceiling, gilded moldings, crystal chandeliers—and already filled with people busily preparing for our November 18 presentation of Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

Clangs and bangs bounced off the walls and ceiling as the tech company assembled a 12-by-9-foot projection screen and the catering staff lined up chairs. Stepping carefully around ethernet cables and electrical wires duct-taped to the floor, my Emory co-workers Julie Delliquanti and Julie Braun unpacked and set up the exhibit posters, while Nafees Khan 10PhD and I plugged in and checked (and rechecked) the computer kiosks to be used for searching the nearly 35,000 slaving voyages recorded in the Voyages database.

Two hours later, boxes and wires and supports were hidden away under draped fabrics, black velvet and glossy gold, the room communicating an atmosphere both celebratory and solemn. Along the walls, oversized posters depicted Africans liberated from slave ships, statistical graphs, and maps charting the volume of the trans-Atlantic slave trade were gathered.

As the most comprehensive resource on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and available freely online for public research and contribution, the Voyages database is a powerful tool for discovering the global and personal impact of this once legitimate business, and a growing memorial to the over 12 million enslaved Africans whose lives were devastated or destroyed.

I don’t recall when guests started arriving, only that one moment I was surfing through the database (above) with a few early arrivals and the next I found myself surrounded by conversations and questions ...

-- Liz Milewicz 09PhD, project manager, Voyages

To read more, visit the December 2009 issue of EmoryWire.

See the photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment