It’s the anniversary of Freddie Gray’s funeral.
There were peaceful protests before and after this date one year ago. But given how the events of April 27, 2015, shaped the conversation about addressing the city’s structural inequalities over the last year, the anniversary seems poised to be an important date in Baltimore for years to come.
The attention surrounding Gray’s death and the protests themselves was in many ways a reflection of modern communication that enables individual stories to shape larger narratives. Gray’s arrest gained attention after a cellphone video was posted online, and Twitter was a huge source of on-the-ground information during the protests. Google Maps became a way to show where incidents happened. A drone video surveyed the damage.
To gather the many types of documentation in one place and preserve it, the Maryland Historical Society put together a digital archive that includes photos from social media, oral histories and a map that shows where in the city the events of the week took place.
“There’s a lot of material on the Internet, but no guarantee that those locations will exist indefinitely,” UMBC Associate Professor of Public History Denise Meringolo said in a statement. “It’s important to ask people to think about what will survive into the future, and what organizations will survive. It was fantastic to have the Maryland Historical Society say ‘let’s partner here,’ to make sure those voices survive regardless what happens to YouTube or Twitter.”
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