Trapped by the narrative

I have finished a lovely sic-fi book by John Scalzi called "Redshirts: A Novel in Three Codas." A major theme was "The Narrative" the defining theme that for the characters meant that every time the captain took the crew on an away mission, the crew in the redshirt usually wound up dying. This idea of "the narrative" stuck with me as there are large narratives that are repeated and revisited with different (feminist, Marxist, act) perspectives.

What I am hoping for with this project, is to let the data determine the narrative, as opposed to looking for data to support a theme or a particular narrative. When I first engaged in this project years ago with the 1880 data for Truxton Circle, it was interesting. The neighborhood, if you could call a handful of occupied blocks and a bunch of unoccupied ones along what I best could tell were unpaved roads, a neighborhood. Then Truxton was a racially mixed one. Different ethnic groups lived near each other. As I mapped out other census years using the closest available real estate or fire map, I noticed a pattern the changed and shifted with the time that blew away narratives regarding segregation in my mind. 

The narratives I had gotten before was blacks and whites in the South (DC is a Southern city) lived completely separate from one another, divided by natural or man-made boundaries. With this project and also encountering other documents about DC in the early 20th century, I now know this is not completely true. In Truxton Circle, blacks and whites lived across the street from each other, across the alley and next door, sometimes sharing a party wall.

© MM Maxwell 2012-2014