Atlanta Image (MARTA Train Car)

Love it or hate it, MARTA is a vital piece of Atlanta’s infrastructure. Additionally, it can serve multiple purposes for different people. For example, it may be a person’s primary transportation to work or school. A person may take MARTA to get to a concert or festival. Although there are infinite uses for the train, everyone’s experience is similar in the regards that MARTA gets you where you need to be.

A person’s journey on MARTA begins when they approach the ticket kiosk. After receiving your ticket, you then arrive at the gate where you must touch your ticket to the column in order to open the gate. After looking at the signs, you then stand on the platform and wait for your train to arrive.

Once on the train, you begin to look around. (In many cases it’s crowded, but on the day I took this picture it was strangely empty.) The car is a uniform beige, with plastic seats and metal railings. As seen in the picture, there are small television screens that play ads, but more common than not they show nothing at all. You hear over the loud speaker that eating and drinking is illegal on MARTA, which is followed by a repetition of the same message in Spanish. As your ride continues, you enter a dark tunnel. When you look outside your window it is black but safety lights flash by at an alarming rate. You close your sound and listen to the train’s heartbeat: the conductor’s rhythmic pounding of the brake. Then all at once, light has returned and you see green all around. The loud speaker then says, “The next station is Kensington.” You then gather your belongings and shuffle towards the doors trying to keep your balance by grabbing onto the railings. Finally, the doors abruptly open.

Reorganization of Blog

When I first read our task for this week I was very excited! I was definitely feeling the need to reorganize my blog for a while now and this assignment gave me the motivation to do so.

The first thing I did was to check to make sure all of my posts were appropriately named and categorized. For example, I decided to rename one of my “Atlanta Images” to better match the format of my other post’s titles. Additionally, I had forgotten to categorize a few of my posts, so I went back and added categories to them. Further, I also wanted to check and make sure all my category names were correct with Dr. Wharton’s website. Once this objective was completed, I moved on to my next task which was creating pages to organize the individual posts.

More specifically, I wanted to try to make it easier for my peers and Dr. Wharton to navigate my website. In order to do this, I created individual pages with the titles: “About Me”, “Atlanta Artifacts and Images”, “Built Environment Descriptions”, “Class Notes”, “Reading Responses”, and “Miscellaneous”. I then created pages with the individual posts and linked them to the parent categories listed above. (That way the viewer could access them under the drop-down menu.) Also, I numbered the posts so that they would show up in the correct order on the drop-down menu. Another addition I made that I thought would be somewhat helpful for the students was including the link to Dr. Wharton’s project descriptions and requirements.

Overall, I believe that this is a start on optimizing the capacity of my blog. I plan to one day in the very near future arrange a meeting with Dr. Wharton and discuss what I can do to further improve my website’s visual as well as functional appearance.

Personal Site Response for the Georgia State Capitol

I visited the Capitol on February 1, 2017, to begin my English project. When I first arrived at the site I had no idea of what to focus on. Regardless, I began my exploration of the building. As I wondered around the halls, I began to get so much anxiety due to how densely packed the building was. Although this made me feel extremely uncomfortable, it did ultimately lead to the main detail of my focused built environment description: the people.

The first room I ventured into was one of the wings of the Capitol, which was, as you could have guessed, very crowded. Of course, this was where I encountered the majority of the people mentioned in my other post. To begin, I started by looking at the paintings hung on the walls. It was then, that I saw a class of students gathered in a hallway looking at other paintings. On a more personal level, observing the students brought memories back to me of when I was younger and went on field trips to explore similar sites. After I was done reminiscing, I then began to notice that there was a lot of military personnel present. In order to preserve my observations of their character I then began to jot down notes, which would come in handy later.

From there, I hesitantly walked up the marble stairs to the second floor where I believe a session of the Georgia General Assembly was being held. As you may have guessed, this is where I made the majority of my observations about the category of people that I categorized as politicians or people who were there for an official purpose. Overall, I felt a great deal of intimidation from observing those individuals, because there was a clear distinction between me, a visitor, and the people who were working at that time.

Next, I decided to observe the other wing of the building where there was a college fair being conducted. (From observing this event I recognized that the Capitol’s top priority was the people and meeting their needs.) Further, another event that I witnessed was “Music Day at the Capital”. At this event, I was able to meet all types of people that were gathered under the dome of the Capitol to celebrate their shared interest in music. At one point in the ceremony, I couldn’t help but look up at the paintings of the founding fathers hung above the crowd. I may be speaking out of terms, but I think the founding fathers would be proud to see the people uniting to promote something that they believed in, much like the founding fathers did in the past.

In sum, my experience at the Capital was about recognizing the importance of the people, both past and present, to fully understand the built environment. Being surround by so many people, created an energy that I have never experienced. More specifically, it created a sense of pride for my state as well as my fellow Georgians. Furthermore, visiting this space made the government feel less intimidating by being able to see the people behind the process. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Capitol, because it allowed me to appreciate the people of the Capitol as well as my fellow Georgians.


My View as I Entered the Capitol

Politicians Gathered on the Second Floor

(If you look closely you can see the screens on the wall which are broadcasting the session being conducted.)

Room Under Dome Where “Music Day at the Capitol” was being Held

(The paintings of the founding fathers are also observable in this picture.)

Third Day Performing at the Capitol

(The link provided is a video of Third Day performing at the Capitol.)

Focused Built Environment Description for the Georgia State Capitol

The doors of the Capitol are made of solid oak, carved with elaborate decorations, and have large windows as to allow light into the building. Additionally, they are mounted on hinges that allow them to open and to close. But why are these doors necessary? The answer is that they provide an entrance as well as an exit for people to enter and exit the building. More specifically, without the constant movement of people between the walls, the Capitol would lose all significance.

Upon entering the building, one is first greeted by a man or women in apparel to identify themselves as security for the building. This is where the journey of discovering the vast types of individuals inhabiting the Capitol begins.

One type of persons you may happen upon is a person much like yourself, a visitor. For the most part, visitors at the Capitol have many things in common that one may observe in order to identify their purpose. For example, many visitors carry cameras and request others to take their pictures on the marble steps. They may stop to read or simply take in the architecture of the building as well as the artifacts within. Finally, most visitors dress informally when compared to others in the building.

Walking in either wing of the building, it is also relatively easy to recognize those that are either politicians or those there for official business. These persons dress in formal attire and have name tags that state their name, title, and sometimes even purpose. Further, most have a more serious demeanor than the already discussed visitors; instead of wondering the halls they walk with purpose and confidence.

Furthermore, another category of persons that is arguably easily identifiable is that of a military man or women. These men and women wear pristine uniforms decorated with pins and patches that denote their accomplishment as well as status. They too walk with purpose and confidence, while having a very formal demeanor.

Another, somewhat unforeseen category, is those who are a mix of both visitor and participant. More specifically, I am describing individuals who host and attend special events on the Capitol’s grounds. These people are, for the most part, are enthusiastic in nature and willing to express their opinion on the subject matter highlighted by the program. For example, there was an event called “Music Day at the Capitol” on February 1st, 2017. In more detail, the day was centered on the celebration and promotion of House Bill 155, which will help to promote the music industry in Georgia, should it be ratified. The people attending this event were very diverse in nature, but they all belonged in this category due to their common interest in music. To be more descriptive, they were people of all races, genders, ages, and appearances gathered under the dome to listen to performances of Georgia’s own.

The final category of persons one might discover roaming the halls of the Capitol is a student. I do recognize that this may be a subcategory of the first classification of a visitor, but there are different qualities that separate them from the aforementioned category. For example, they travel in large packs lead by an adult and presumably a tour guide. Students tend to ask lots of questions and dress in what one would assume to be school appropriate clothing. Additionally, another quality of groups of students are that they are somewhat loud and their voices can be heard echoing down the hall. As far as demeanor goes, they too are happy to explore the structure and artifacts of the building.

Overall, the Capitol is a place made for the people. People of all shapes, colors, ages, purposes and ideas. It’s a place where people can gather to enjoy a shared experience of learning about the history of Georgia as well as making history within its walls.



College Fair at the Capital

(This photo shows both people with a purpose and a class of students all wearing red in the background.)

Security Guard

(The security guard is the first person one meets after crossing the threshold of the Capitol.)

Military Personnel Ascending the Steps of the Capitol

Flyer and Sticker for “Music Day at the Capitol”

(Also pictured is the crowd that attended the celebration.)

Student Performance at Capitol

(The above link is a video of a local elementary school’s performance.)

Class Notes for Week Five

“Parting Ways” Discussion (Interesting Points and How it Connects to BED):

  • The land occupied was given to the residents after requiring to clear-cut trees.
  • Pottery, that dated the site, was handed down to the residents,
  • The Burr house shows the buildable nature was history.
  • Pottery in the Burr house, allowed investigators to discover more about the occupant’s culture.
  • The freedmen seemed to be assimilated but instead blended Anglo-American culture with what we know today as African-American culture through artifacts and sculpture.
    • Example 1: Burr house based off of shotgun house in Haiti, but had a New England exterior.
    • Example 2: Graves were another example of African roots.
  • The sign was evidence that the community members owned the land. Also, could be a sort of memorial.
  • People once thought the trauma of passage and slavery erased the culture of Africa, but what we learned was that it was actually kept alive through successive generations.
    • Architecture provided this information.
  • Over time the different elements build what we find today.
  • How do they compare to other cultures/environments? Make inferences and conclusions.
  • What’s there? What’s not there? Why is it not there?
  • Architecture has no bias. The houses made in the “Parting Ways” community for comfort, not to represent a particular style.
  • Archeological records have somewhat of a “historical transparency”.
  • Men lived there due to the “persistence of bias and the impulse of segregation”.
  • The documents help give us context.
    • Example: They were free men. They had wives and children.
  • This is the purpose of BED. To research how other communities were built.
  • Bringing together field experience and outside research (built analysis).
  • “Parting Ways” is a historical built environment.
  • Scholarly article but approachable due to lack of jargon.

Built Environment Description:

  • Due February 12th (Sunday).
  • Can narrow down environment if it’s too large to capture detail.
  • Over semesters, will eventually contribute to archive (ongoing university project).
  • You don’t have to do any research outside of experience, but you may include it to provide context.
  • Need to have focus on same detail for both the objective and subjective essay.
  • Written in present tense.
  • Date of observation should be included.
  • Length: 500 words each.
  • Include photo, videos, etc.
  • “Quality over Quantity”.

Class Notes for Week Four

Reading Response:

  • Need a summary of at least one supplemental article (2-3 paragraphs).
  • Not all annotations have to relate to the supplemental article, although there needs to be an effort to draw lines.
  • Annotations are critical readings.
    • This means not taking the text at face value.
    • Maybe, highlight the tensions, questions, critics.
    • Provide a little summary to improve reader’s comprehension.
  • Goal: Use a tool to produce something while reading (formulating an effective response for what we read).
  • When submitting the link use the three hashtags (#jmjrr1, #partingways, #atlsprs17).
  • Can create group if you don’t want your annotations to be open to the public (send email to Wharton to add her to the group).
  • Also can add a page note for the summaries of supplemental articles.

Built Environment Descriptions:

  • Look at the Google Doc for sites. (Add name to desired location.)
  • Focus on one aspect (i.e. sight or sound).
  • Needs to be at least 300-350 words.

Reading Response One (Parting Ways and the Italian Earthquake)

Jordan Johnson

Dr. Wharton

English 1102

3 February 2016

History could be simply thought of as a collection of human events; however, the history of mankind is anything but simple. So how does it seem that history is so clear cut when taught in the educational environment? For example, there are easily identifiable time periods, characters categorized as either good or bad and an almost romanticized feel to the literature. This leads the academic to question why and how history became so far removed from reality and the individual. The answer is generalization. More specifically, it is impossible to have an accurate picture of all the individual lives and events that took place in the past. In order to convey information historians must use pieces of history to paint the picture of a time long ago. Unfortunately, however, many stories that are less persevered but have equal importance get lost in the complex storylines. So how do we find, learn, preserve, and understand the lost history? Through reading “Parting Ways” the reader examines effective, alternative methods for analyzing and interpreting pieces of lost or damaged history, which can be applied to situations of other damaged historical structures and artifacts, such as the earthquake in Italy.

In order to translate the historical preservation method used in “Parting Ways” to the artifact loss in Italy, we must first understand the circumstances that occurred. On August 24,  2016, “a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy” taking the lives of at least 247 people (Sanchez). Along with the loss of life, the earthquake devastated “at least 293 cultural heritage assets” located within the earthquake zone, a huge loss for the Italian people and the history of mankind (Orjoux). As one might expect, the most significant damage was done to central Italy’s historic structures: Catterale di Urbino, Monastero Santa Chiara, San Guilano cathedral, Basilica Di San Franceso, Chiesa di Agostino, Benedictine of Monks of Norcia, and Amatrice’s “historic medieval walls (Orjoux). Due to the amount of devastation that occurred, Italy has lost significant, tangible pieces of its history, but using alternative methods, like those explained in “Parting Ways”, historians can use generalizations found in surviving artifacts to apply to the analysis of the ruins. By doing so central Italy’s individual history may be preserved instead of forgotten and incorporated into the mainstream.

As seen in “Parting Ways”, one of the most effective methods of preserving lost or damaged history is through individuals expressing their memories about a particular subject. More specifically, oral history has been central to the preservation of many culture’s history, such as those of the Native American and African civilizations. At the Parting Ways community, “the strength of oral tradition…preserved more than [they hoped],” providing assurance that historical information can be accurately gathered without tangible evidence (Deetz 188). Furthermore, the oral tradition also assess the artifact’s influence on the individual and their everyday life. It also allows the historian to access a more subjective view from the time period, instead of an objective view residing in most educational textbooks. This applies to the situation in Italy, because the people feel as though they have lost a part of their culture in the devastation. Additionally, the people may also worry that future generations will regard the structures as part of the past, causing them to eventually become forgotten. But, through detailed records of individual recollection, the historical structures can maintain their significance to the people, instead of becoming only an objective piece of architecture. It is, however, important to note that due to personal perspectives “complete agreement among all sources is rare indeed”, creating a need for more objective evidence to sort out what is accurate and what is less than accurate. One method of fulfilling this need would be written records. For example, a historian hears two stories: one that the house burned down in a fire and one that recalled the house being demolished by the owner. Which one should the historian believe? Using public records the historian can decipher which is closer to the truth.

In addition to oral history, written records can act as a “complementary body of information” to fill in the holes that personal verbal accounts leave (Deetz 188). The reader observes this method being effective in the Parting Ways community by contributing to the narrative of the life of Cato Howe. Additionally, the written records provided information to help archeologists and volunteers understand the structures of the buildings in the Parting Ways community. A similar technique could be used in Italy, to reconstruct the damage artifactual structures and provide insight to the lives of people that utilized the building. Examples of the types of written records that may be helpful may include schematics, photographs with descriptions, observations, educational articles, and other public documents. Written records could also address questions raised by the site. These questions may include: Who used these structures? Was the structure made to simply fulfill a basic human need of shelter or did they have a deeper purpose? Who used the structure? Was the structure for private use or public use? How was the structure incorporated into the greater cultural environment?

Another more obvious way of preserving damaged structures is using the ruins to reconstruct and document the original condition of the building or artifact. For example, in the Parting Ways community, volunteers noticed an “open cellar hole had all the appearances of having had a house standing over it”, showing accurate reconstruction is possible for even the smallest, remaining details (Deetz 194). This same method can once again be applied in Italy. In fact, most of the structures in the earthquake zone were left somewhat intact, leaving components for the researchers to analyze and apply to the greater structural scheme. Furthermore, the structural ruins can provide additional information, such as the materials used to build the structure, how they were assembled, and the relative time period. This method is essential to our knowledge of historical sites, because every structure will eventually deteriorate no matter whether it’s due to a natural disaster or just the passage of time.

With much focus on the external structures, it is also important to consider the artifacts located within the sites. One such artifact that is common in most historical locations is pottery. In the information provided on the Parting Ways community, readers find that pottery can be used to “[date]…the main period of occupation of the site” as well as reconstructed to provide relevant cultural information (Deetz 198). For example, the “two large earthware jars” provided valuable insight that the Parting Ways community differed greatly from their Anglo-American neighbors, in regard to the structures being a unique fusion of culture do to the “African and West Indian background of the people who lived there” (Deetz 199-200). Along with the significant cultural contribution of the artifacts in the Parting Ways community, artifacts such as pottery could also provide valuable insight to the historical sites damaged in central Italy. These artifacts could include, but are not limited to religious paintings, pottery, books, ceremonial pieces, alters, and garments. In some cases, the artifacts located within can be just as crucial as the outside structure to effectively portray the history of a specific site or even broader culture.

It is clear to see that these methods are viable techniques for understanding and preserving the lost or damaged history of the past, however, its also important to understand that history, like other subjects, is constantly changing with the addition of more information. The reader experiences this first hand when the historians were “forced to question the identity of those individuals buried” at the site marked for the Parting Ways community members after a new burial site seemed more likely. More specifically, this shows the reader that history is messy. In order to create a more cohesive whole from the pieces, educated guessing and generalization may be required. Furthermore, this will inevitably be the case in Italy too, as more and more information is collected over time. Overall, the example from the “Parting Ways” reading shows that history is constantly evolving and will continue to evolve as more evidence is found and better methods are instituted.

In sum, the lesson to be learned and applied from the “Parting Ways” architectural description, is that there are many ways to preserve and understand lost or damaged historical sites, no matter whether they were lost hundreds of years ago or just a few days. Even though Massachusetts and Italy seem drastically different, the cultural identity of both can be saved for future generation and applied to lesser-known histories. More specifically, we can generalize the information from one site to analyze and better understand a similar site. To illustrate, imagine if another natural disaster devastated other historical landmarks in Italy. The existing information can contribute to more accurate and complete historical preservation. This could also be applies in central Italy’s current situation by using already documented or other known information to create a more complete picture. To conclude, learning about the cultures outside of the mainstream history can give students a more individual-focused perspective and exposure to the lesser-known perspectives.

Works Cited

Deetz, James F. “Parting Ways.” The Plymouth Colony Archive Project, 1996, Accessed 24 January 2017.

Orjoux, Alanne. “Historical Treasures Lost, Damaged in Italian Quake.” CNN, 25 August 2016, Accessed 26 January 2017.

Sanchez, Ray. “At Least 247 Killed in Earthquake in Central Italy.” CNN, 25 August 2016, Accessed 26 January 2017.

Class Notes for Week Three


  • Look on the emailed spreadsheet for updated grades and rubric/feedback on projects.
  • Additionally, you can leave comments for Dr. Wharton and receive extra credit points.
  • Students need to start using categories on their posts. (To do this locate the box that says category. Then, click “Add New Category”. Make sure the new category is checked and post your blog!)
  • In addition to categories, tags can be used for a more detailed description of what the blog contains. (Remember the example of the picture at the Women’s March.)
  • Password for protected readings is ATLSPRs17. (Discussion on readings next week.)

Reading Response Notes:

  • Need ten annotations made on; one of which needs to be a summary of your supplemental reading.
  • These annotations will become your reading response.
  • Use the hashtag #atlsprs17 in annotations (can also use a personal hashtag for locating your own).
  • Annotations due Monday, January 30th.
  • Ideas for Annotations (suggested by Dr. Wharton):
    1. Questions you may have.
    2. Difficult words.
    3. Problems with the reading.
    4. This quote makes me think of this…
    5. How the reading relates to other learning.
    6. Connections with pictures.
    7. Take conclusions to the logical extreme.
    8. History based on generalizations?