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Thursday, November 19, 2015

New App to Allow Users to Preserve African American History in World War I

— WVU College of Media faculty, students launch Kickstarter campaign for virtual and augmented reality app that shares stories of African American WWI veterans —

African American World War II Soldiers

The BlackTimeMap app will allow the public to upload personal photographs like this to a virtual wall at each memorial site dedicated to African American service and sacrifice in WWI.

Morgantown, WV — In an ongoing effort to uncover the hidden stories of African American veterans, the West Virginia University Reed College of Media is partnering with Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust to develop an app that would allow users to travel back in history.

The app, BlackTimeMap, will combine virtual and augmented reality technology with community participation to create an immersive, interactive and educational experience that preserves African American history in WWI. “The time is now to develop a digital record for the upcoming WWI National Commemoration in 2017. We will not be satisfied with merely remaining a footnote in the annals of WWI history,” said Ron E. Armstead, Executive Director Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust.

The app will allow smartphone, tablet and Google cardboard users to visit African American war memorial sites in 360° from anywhere in the world and travel back in time with augmented reality content. Audiences will be able to access historical photos, film and audio as well as pin their own images, stories and documents to a virtual “wall” at the memorial sites.

Why BlackTimeMap is Important

Associate Professor Joel Beeson, who is leading the project, says not only will the free app provide historical content but also help the public to understand contemporary racial struggles that have occurred across the nation in such places as Charleston, Ferguson, Baltimore and the University of Missouri.

“Recognizing the significance of World War I is essential to developing a full understanding of modern African-American history and the struggle for black freedom,” said Beeson. “As Brandeis historian Chad Williams has noted, ‘World War I was a transformative moment in African-American history.’ Many of the black veterans of WWI returned home to become foot soldiers for civil rights in America.”

Help “Kickstart” BlackTimeMap

To help support the development of BlackTimeMap, students in Beeson’s visual storytelling class launched a Kickstarter campaign on Veterans Day. They need to raise $20-thousand by December 11 to make BlackTimeMap a reality. Visit https://goo.gl/GUEV7j to make a contribution, and follow their progress on Twitter (@BlackTimeMap).

The anticipated release date for BlackTimeMap will coincide with the upcoming U.S. WWI Centennial in 2017.

 

PRESS CONTACT:
Joel Beeson
WVU Reed College of Media
304-293-6757
Joel.Beeson@mail.wvu.edu

 

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