The DRONE Project

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Thousands of Americans of color's names and life stories are being lost or left unfinished due to being buried in dilapidated and overrun cemeteries and burial grounds across the United States. Many of these cemeteries and burial grounds have either very little or no documentation to account for those interred. This information is key to telling the complete life story of these Americans. The damaging effects of weather and unabated terrain make this work urgent to prevent further loss.

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Women Making History

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There is a lack of knowledge about the accomplishments of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in US history due to systematic erasure. This unique program gives young women ages 16 - 19 the opportunity to work side by side with innovative leaders in technology to recover physical evidence of the pioneering spirit of BIPOC. This active learning experience includes teaching the fundamentals of entrepreneurship to further empower participants to become technology pioneers.

The DRONE Project, Descendents Recovering Our NamEs, empowers BIPOC young women who have been historically undervalued in STEAM to use the most advanced tech to find those that were once treated as the least of humankind to create an inclusive future. We are our ancestor's wildest dreams!

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:

San Diego County became the home of numerous Black pioneers post-enslavement as a result of the California Gold Rush. Participants will work with LiDAR-enhanced drones and other advanced geospatial technology to learn more about how they lived and died.

  • Julian Cemetery - Due to missing or vandalized headstones and burial markers, the exact location of some of the interred has been lost. We will work to document the location of everyone interred here. Many of the missing are BIPOC pioneers in the early history of Julian and San Diego County.

 

  • Harrison Serenity Ranch - Last home of formerly enslaved Black pioneer, Nathan Harrison; the first Black land owner in San Diego County. We will paint a better picture of how Nathan Harrison lived by using LiDAR to discover how he used the mountain while he lived.

 

Participants will create virtual exhibitions for the We The People Museum to preserve and share the findings. Additionally, participants will receive a monthly $250 stipend as part of a workforce development initiative. 

Gilfield Missionary Baptist Church Lisman AL
Mt Hope Cemetery San Diego CA
Mt. Hope Cemetery San Diego CA
Gilfield Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery Lisman Alabama
Old Plateau Cemetery Africatown AL

BACKGROUND:

This project began using drones solely equipped with high-quality cameras, we quickly realized we needed drones able to overcome the trees that overshadow many of these lost and abandoned burial grounds. The beta test of this project revealed the fact that more advanced technology would be required to fulfill the mission. In 2022, we will start a cohort of 16 - 18-year-old young women from Saan Diego, CA to use LiDAR enhanced drones to map historical sites significant in BIPOC California history. The pictures and video will be used to create exhibits for our virtual BIPOC history museum, We The People Museum, coming in July 2023.​

Please contact us to volunteer, submit names and locations of cemeteries and burial grounds that meet the criteria, or contract our mapping services for your historical site.

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