Xavier history students create a website about Cincinnati's pre-Civil War era

The website explores the intersections of conflict and collaboration among the city's immigrant populations | April 30, 2014

Under the guidance of Christine Anderson, associate professor of history, Xavier history students created a website where visitors can explore Cincinnati’s rich, diverse Antebellum past.

Students in the course, Social Conflict in Antebellum America, studied the intersections among the diverse social groups living in Cincinnati in the years leading up to the Civil War. In 1850, the city was quickly expanding with Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Germany and Ireland, a growing abolitionist movement and rising industry.

Visitors to the website can learn about the churches and schools established by African Americans, German and Irish Catholics, and German Jews. Viewers can also explore the accomplishments of dedicated women in the Sisters of Charity, and how their efforts founded one of the city’s premier hospitals, Good Samaritan Hospital. Other features include a virtual tour using an app called “the History Pin,” which allows viewers to see historical images superimposed over current photographs, seemingly bringing the old city to life again.

The goal of the website is to find the intersections where race, gender, religion and class reveal the creativity of as well as conflicts among Cincinnati’s diverse populations in the past. Visitors are invited to consider the links between past and present as Cincinnati continues to struggle with similar issues today.

The website is possible through the collaboration of the Xavier students, the Cincinnati Sisters of Charity and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which made their resources available for research, and Gary Lewandowski of the Department of Math and Computer Science, who helped create the website.

The website is available at curiosity.cs.xu.edu/blogs/antebellumcincinnati.