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Norfolk State University (Norfolk, VA 23504-8090)
Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander (Project Director: January 2009 to April 2014)
Waterways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in Virginia

A project to create a historical simulation of the Underground Railroad in Virginia by using interactive gaming technology to educate high school and college students.

Waterways to Freedom: the Underground Railroad in Virginia, will create a digital simulation with historical content and interactive educational features. We are calling this approach Empathetic Simulation Competition Accessing Past Experiences (ESCAPE). Abolitionism was just as important in the South as it was in the North, albeit as an underground movement. For port areas, such as Hampton Roads, Virginia that lay on the east coast's most important waterways, the story about how individuals and networks of people organized this resistance continues to captivate the public's imagination. However, common myths circulating about the activities of the Underground Railroad distract from the realities of the stories, in part because these myths are dramatic and elicit empathy. By approaching this material using ESCAPE, we hope to combine realism and dramatic simulation to our educational objectives by infusing historically possible dialogue, motivations, and actions.

Project fields:
African American Studies

Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Education Programs

$100,000 (approved)
$100,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2009 – 12/31/2011