Geo-Strategizing: Mapping a CORE Protest


Spring 2018, Professor Jessica McCarty will lead a GIS mapping course that will take me on as a "client." I will visit GEO 242 in the early semester and provide context for the project. Students will then aim to complete two goals.

Goal One: Integrate geospatial analyses and complete student-created products to augment by creating a 3-D rendering of a protest space.

The particular site for mapping is Murray Hill, an area featured in the Harambee City Book. Murray Hill protests centered on school desegregation of a local elementary school.  Opposers to desegegation gathered at the top of the hill to challenge CORE's demonstration, and the ensueing counter protest devolved into a riot that threated both black freedom activists and black children hold up in the school. 

Religious leaders feared a bloodbath and turned to Ruth Turner and Tony Perot to cancel the demonstration against segregated schooling.  The two initially refused to do so, hightening fear that civil rights activists waiting at the bottom of the hill might be viciously wounded in the melee. Turner and Perot eventually ended the standoff, but insisted that a future Murray HIll protest be kept on the table.

The map is designed to capture the spatial layout of CORE's intended protest.  The 3-D rendering acts to aid student thinking on how to navigate the circumstances of the Murray Hill riots.  As "CORE leaders" they must determine how the space will effect their strategies and tactics.

Goal Two: Create a story map of segregated schools.

CORE demonstrations increased tempo when civil rights leaders learned that the Cleveland School Board of Education intended to build additional schools in black neighborhoods.  It was clear that that the Board intended to avoid integration by quickly addressing overcrowding in black schools.  However, a review of the school locations clearly indicated that they were substandard - an issue only visible through mapping. 

The second project will create a story map, overlaying roads, topography, etc. to help students better understand why these schools were considered substandard.

These projects are slated for completion by June 2018.

Project Creators:

Jiaxing Bai is a student at Miami University in the College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in Geography. Jiaxing Bai will work on 3D printing with his group members ito illustrate the importance of protest and place in Cleveland. Jiaxing Bai is preparing for a career in civil aviation industry, which requires professional service and Geography skills in order to grow the civil aviation industry in a healthy and stable way.


Emily Bettler is second year student at Miami University, currently pursuing a degree in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Naval Science. After graduation, she hopes to become an officer in the US Navy. She will utilize her skills in GIS and Google Earth Pro to create a historical map of Cleveland in the Civil Rights era. This project is important because it shows whether any real progress has been made in economic and social mobility for African-Americans.

Will Breitenbach is a sophomore Geography major with minors in Marketing and Supply Chain Management.  His career goal is to work for a global logistics company or an airline. Although he doesn’t have any past experience in online mapping systems, he is taking this class to jumpstart his understanding of geographic technologies that can be used to make our daily lives easier and information more accessible.  This Service Learning Client project is important because it will shed light on school discrimination issues in the United States.

My name is Sean Callahan, and I am an Urban and Regional Planning major at Miami University with a minor in Business Management and Leadership. My geospatial skills are strengthening with the help of courses I am currently taking. I personally plan to contribute an extensive and well researched knowledge base of the history of the development and advancement of public education for African-Americans in Cleveland. Our group looks to inform and recreate this public education process using geospatial technology. This service learning project is important to me personally and professionally because it is something I am passionate about and is a chance to showcase my geospatial skills. It is also important to the U.S. and global community because it will offer a mapped out learning experience that could be used to offer a more effective development route of educational offerings to all people, ultimately enhancing learning capability and quality of life. Jack Cooney studies Mechanical Engineering at Miami University, with an interest in CAD, virtual simulations, and also geospatial sciences. He is working with several classmates to model and 3-D print the Murray Hill protest space in Cleveland, Ohio, to aid in visualizing how the protest occurred. This 3-D environment will help everyone become more knowledgeable about the civil rights struggles in Cleveland and beyond by displaying how the events of a protest may happen in real time, and emphasize the importance of good planning and positioning when staging a protest. Jack is trained in geospatial software such as ArcGIS and Google Earth Pro, as well as Engineering Software such as Autodesk Inventor, AbaqusCAE, and MatLab. In addition to schoolwork, he enjoys playing the saxophone, the oboe, and riding bicycles. Thomas Covault is currently a third year Sociology student at Miami University. He has basic geospatial skills including Google Earth Pro and hopes to add ESRI Story Maps and 3D printing to his repertoire. His group contribution will be researching African-American educational opportunities in Cleveland. This learning project is important, because Thomas is would like to study urban sociology in graduate school and professionally, so African-American educational offerings is something he would study and thinks is important to cities all over America.
Nick Eramo is a Sophomore Strategic Communications Major with a minor in Urban/Regional Planning at Miami University. I have worked in construction nearly my whole life. I specialize in surveying and site development operations. I also have some experience with geospatial technology for housing development. This Service Learning Project is a great opportunity to learn about history and also how geospatial engineering can be used to develop neglected areas of the United States. Hi! I’m Amy Flanagan and I am currently studying Middle Childhood Education, specializing in Math and Science, at Miami University. I am fairly new to using geospatial technology, however I hope to learn more throughout the course. I think it’s important to know the history and past of different towns and cities, so I can have a broader background on the communities in which my students live. James Gale is a Junior at Miami University studying Economics and Urban & Regional Planning, with a minor in Graphic Design. His consulting experience ranges from corporate and congressional campaign work to business analytics and marketing. He has worked extensively with the Adobe Suite as well as R-Studio, QGIS, and Google Earth Engine. He is a fan of people, particularly interested in crafting experiences and memories for those around him—as such, this project presents an opportunity he feels passionate about.

Jeffrey A. Gord is a Public Administration Major with a Sustainability Co-Major and an Urban and Regional Analysis Minor at Miami University. He has geospatial analysis experience and is skilled in ArcGIS. He is working on creating a 3-D printed model of a protest space in Cleveland, Ohio, which will allow him to practice his communicative design skills.

I am Tyler Graff and I am a sophomore Geography major at Miami University. I am learning about geospatial technology, mapping, and topography. My deliverable is a 3D printed model which plays to the fact that I have prior 3D printing experience. This project is important to improve my understanding of historical inequity so that I can apply it in my professional dealings and share this knowledge with the community to promote national and global equality amongst all people.

My name is Kenny Halt. I’m a third year student majoring in both Political Science and Urban/Regional Planning at Miami University. I have a fair amount of confidence in my geospatial skills as someone who both has long enjoyed mapping, and is currently taking Advanced GIS, in order to get GIS certified. I feel I bring a unique perspective to the classroom in comparison to my Miami peers, as I come from a rather modest background and have lived in both areas where I’ve lived amongst mostly white people and areas where I lived amongst mostly people of color. I feel like this work for our Service Learning Client is extremely important as somehow people continue to lack a great degree of knowledge of the times that surrounded the Civil Right Movement, and subsequently don’t understand how racism is actually entrenched in modern society.

Alexis Hill is a senior undergraduate Urban and Regional Planning Major obtaining a GIScience Certificate from Miami University. She has experience working with ESRI ArcMap, remote sensing data, and land use law and practices. She has a passion in photography in her free time so she will easily be able to find and take new images of African-American Owned Businesses for the Service Learning Project. Being an African-American woman in the United States, it is important to understand the past struggles and achievements that other African-Americans have overcome in order to help me and many others be where they are today. Professionally service learning projects help individuals get real world experience working with clients which is a very important skill to have. Overall, it is important for the global community to understand the past in order to progress towards better things in the future.

Madison Jeffries is a student at Miami University pursuing a degree in Urban and Regional Planning.She has learned to use different geospatial programs such as MapTiler, Google Earth Pro, and ArcGIS. For the ESRI Story Map her group is creating, she will research the conditions of some of the predominantly African-American schools in Cleveland and map their locations. This project is important because it helps better communicate this part of the civil rights era in Cleveland that isn’t often in the spotlight.

Hannah Johnson is a junior at Miami University, studying Marketing in Miami’s Farmer School of Business with a minor in Urban and Regional Analysis. With the combination of these two fields, she likes to analyze the target market of a certain region, often considering how people interact with space and how to manipulate and influence them within that space. Hannah has experience with Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Google Earth Pro, Map Tiler, and ArcGIS. One project Hannah has previously worked on is a walking tour of her hometown Madison, WI that analyzed physical structures and their relation to trends of the time period. This project is available at The project Hannah is currently working on now is a service learning project that will help map educational offerings for African-Americans in Cleveland during the civil rights movement. Through geographic and statistical data this project will be able to tell a story that can be easily understood by varying age ranges and ethnicities to help give insight to the struggles of the African-American population during the Civil Rights Movement.

Marin Leone is a junior at Miami University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Urban and Regional Planning. Marin has mapping skills in both ArcGIS and Google Earth Pro. Through the client project working with Harambee City, Marin contributed to an ESRI Story Map. With her passion for human geography, Marin was eager to uncover the story of the Civil Rights movement in Cleveland through a variety of perspectives. To Marin, being able to tell the story of the Harambee City in a way that is interesting for people to understand not only brings recognition to the movement and people of CORE but also enlightenment to the parallels of today.   

 Jake McCorkle is a Finance major with significant interests in the fields of Entrepreneurship and Data Analytics. He is excited to develop his geospatial knowledge via his analysis of African-American owned businesses in Cleveland. He plans to investigate how these businesses have been affected by socioeconomic factors before, during, and after the Civil Rights movement.

Ryan McGuff is a Sophomore at Miami University majoring in Geography and Sustainability. Specializing in environmental factors of the Earth, Ryan is eager to learn more about using GIScience to explore forestry and landscape ecology. Ryan plans to contribute how international protests compare to the ones in Cleveland, Ohio and mentioned in “Harambee City”. Overall, the ESRI Story Map plans to show how the effects of the protests in Cleveland relate and differ from other forms of revolution. This service learning project will not only allow other people far from Cleveland to visualize the impacts of the protests in the mid-1900’s, but also show the comparison between other similar protests in different places around the world.

Stephen Springsteen is a sophomore at Miami University with a major in Urban and Regional Planning with a minor in Economics. He is hoping to enter a career in real estate development after graduation. He uses ArcGIS and Google Earth Pro to map and study land areas for development usage. Stephen loves athletic history and historic architecture.

Morgan Wright is a Professional Writing and Geography student at Miami University. She focuses on the impact of location on the daily lives of people of different backgrounds and cultures. She worked with a team to create an ESRI Story Map comparing Civil Rights protests in different cities. Specifically, she focused on the protests and riots in Detroit, Michigan. This map demonstrates how geographical features impact the success of protests.

Tianyang  Xu  is  a  sophomore  Geography  major  from  Miami  University.  He  is  a  member  of  the group studying the spatial change of African-American music and culture in Cleveland. He uses Google Earth Pro to map the spatial changes of African-American music and culture over time. This project gives a straightforward presentation about the historical and current development of African-American music in Cleveland.

Hello! My name is Will Ziegert and I am studying Urban Planning and Marketing at Miami University. Currently, my geospatial skills consist of minimal Google Earth Pro work, but I look to improve those as the semester progresses and learn more about GIS. Our project will evaluate African American Music and Culture in the Cleveland, Ohio area during the past and present and analyze those spatial changes. Investigating and analyzing information like this is critical in understanding the past history of a very important population and also becoming more aware of a culture other than our own.