Website National Park Service/NCPE Internship Program
Mapping early African American history at the Georgetown Waterfront Park (Fall 2023)
Please note: This internship will begin in September 2023.
Georgetown Waterfront Park was initially constructed beginning in the 1980s on the eastern bank of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., and is managed by Rock Creek Park. In fall 2023, the National Park Service (NPS) National Capital Regional History Program seeks a GIS intern to join a research collaboration between NPS and Georgetown University, documenting and mapping African American experiences on the Georgetown Waterfront before the Civil War.
Georgetown was patented and settled in 1703. After the first tobacco warehouse was constructed around 1745, the town was founded in 1751 and grew rapidly from an agricultural settlement into a waterfront market rooted in the tobacco trade. Enslaved peoples from Africa are thought to have first arrived in Georgetown in the eighteenth century. By 1800, approximately one-third of Georgetown’s population was African American, including enslaved and free Black individuals. During this period, the Georgetown waterfront was packed with wharves and warehouses to support the shipping trade. Research is underway to better understand how African Americans interacted with this maritime landscape, including sites of sale, of labor, of residence, of enterprise, of resistance, and of community building, prior to Georgetown’s post-emancipation development as a substantially African American neighborhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The GIS Intern will work with historic and contemporary maps provided by Georgetown University and NPS to document the historical evolution of the waterfront landscape. Activities will include using ArcGIS Pro to georeference historic maps, envisioning the spatial relationships between historical and contemporary features associated with African American history, building a geodatabase according to NPS Cultural Resource GIS data transfer standards, and creating a series of maps for inclusion in Georgetown University’s final report. The GIS Intern may also assist NPS and Georgetown University with other research or outreach duties for the project. This internship would be useful for a candidate interested in careers in cultural resource management, geography, African American history, and public or digital history.