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Magnus Lindstrøm
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This public research/community project explores the use of database narrative in the process
of “counter-storytelling” using oral history and Critical Race Theory (CRT) in a public
history touch-table project. The research is based on a case study of an ongoing digital
humanities project at the historic Kimball African American War Memorial Building, built
by black veterans of WWI in 1928 in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. The Kimball
Project’s aim has been to further develop the significance of the renovated Kimball African
American Memorial, which was once a vibrant center of local community life for all
ethnicities and races. A central goal of the project is to create an identity as a national
treasure and unique destination for historical tourism through the innovative use of digital
information technology. One of the objectives of the project has been to involve the
community in telling their own historical narratives using iPhone and iPod-based mobile
journalism tools for incorporation into the Memorial’s exhibits, digital content, and to upload
these stories to the Memorial website. The focus of this presentation is the research,
development and design of an interactive, database narrative-driven touch table experience
physically located in the Memorial’s exhibition space, as well as an interactive website. The
database narrative uses a rare book discovered in the process of research and collection of
artifacts and documents – a book of social protest poetry, entitled War Poems, written by
two young black women, sisters Ada Tessabell Peters (age 18) and Ethel Pauline Peters (age
17) while students at the West Virginia Negro Collegiate Institute in 1919. The research and
project present a paradigm shift in theory and practice for cultural workers engaged in mining
invisible voices of the “Other” vis–à–vis “majoritarian” representations of race in digitally
interactive public histories.

(Source: author's abstract)