Slave narratives in Flash animation

August 31, 2007

Wow!

Graphic for Slave Narratives on-line exhibit

Teachers, take a look at this Flash animation about slavery, from the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco. Yes, that beautiful, distinctive narrator voice is Maya Angelou — this is a high quality, high-impact presentation.

This MoAD piece, “Slave Narratives,” gives a glimpse of the potential of on-line learning, and what can be done with computers to supercharge a subject. Here slavery is presented as not only a colonial American problem, but is instead carried on through salvery issues in the 21st century. It’s part of the MoAD “Salon,” a site that world geography, world history and U.S. history teachers need to visit right away.

Cyberspace Nova discusses the site in a quick review of recent great Flash animations:

Imagine how it looked like taking a people freedom, torturing them, killing them and moving them far far away from their home. Tears can follow very easily if you just put one picture on your mind how it looked like. Yet, Slave Narrative put thousands of pictures in front of your eyes if you listen to the stories of slaves who lived to write them and share with people that will live after them. Let’s never forget this, because it’s happening today, like some stories from Slave Narratives tell… I love that this site is done in Flash, it is so powerful, it tells a story that we cannot hear a lot… Narrative part not just only justifies use of Flash, whole interactivity makes it great. 5/5

Opening to Photographs from the African Diaspora exhibit

Also look at this photographic exhibit of from MoAD, featuring more than 2,000 photos of people of African descent and places and things important to them — again, with great flash animation.

Bookmark the home page of the museum while you’re there.


Lincoln quote sourced: Calf’s tail, not dog’s tail

May 23, 2007

It’s a delightful story I’ve heard dozens of times, and retold a few times myself: Abraham Lincoln faced with some thorny issue that could be settled by a twist of language, or a slight abuse of power, asks his questioner how many legs would a dog have, if we called the dog’s tail, a leg. “Five,” the questioner responds confident in his mathematical ability to do simple addition.

Lincoln Memorial statue, profile view

Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial. National Park Service photo.

“No,” Lincoln says. “Calling a dog’s tail a leg, doesn’t make it a leg.”

But there is always the doubt: Is the story accurate? Is this just another of the dozens of quotes that are misattributed to Lincoln in order to lend credence to them?

I have a source for the quote: Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by distinguished men of his time / collected and edited by Allen Thorndike Rice (1853-1889). New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1909. This story is found on page 242. Remarkably, the book is still available in an edition from the University of Michigan Press. More convenient for us, the University of Michigan has the entire text on-line, in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, an on-line source whose whole text is searchable.

However, Lincoln does not tell the story about a dog — he uses a calf. Read the rest of this entry »


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