How Black cartographers put racism on the map of America


“How can maps fight racism and inequality? Maps are not ideologically neutral location guides. Mapmakers choose what to include and exclude, and how to display information to users.”

SOURCE: The Conversation

This article is written by two geography professors (@MLKStreet and @JoshGeog), but it is written for a general audience to learn about how cartography and geography can help us understand the historical impacts of racism on the landscape, and how cartography and geography can be a part of the solution.  In a society with racism and official institutions upholding them, creating maps is an act of resistance and a path towards greater social justice within society.   This article explores Black Panther resistance, redlining, counter-mapping, and modern digital maps that are shining a light of racial inequities. 

Questions to Ponder:

  • In what ways are maps biased sources of information?
  • What is redlining?
  • What impact does redlining still have on American cities?
  • What is the purpose of counter-mapping?
  • What value does diversity of mapmakers (both demographic characteristics of individual cartographers and of the organizations creating maps) have on the production of knowledge?   
About the author: Shandra Johnson
I love to research and I'm very organized. I've worked in retail which is enjoyed. I wish I could find a job that allowed me to have more time with my son.

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