In general, our imaginations of the Civil War happen in grainy black and white. At best, we recall a colorized illustration from a history book—a Union general on a hilltop, directing troop movements with the tip of his sword.
We can enjoy and learn from plaques and empty battlefields, but giving history the flesh and blood it deserves requires a new approach. Corinth’s Contraband Camp is looking to change how we visualize history by making the most of handheld technology.
A new App developed by Northeast Mississippi Community College in concert with the Corinth Visitors Bureau and Civil War Interpretive Center/Shiloh National Military Park aims to deepen our grasp of the past by bringing it (virtually) to life.
By combining augmented reality, videos featuring period actors, narration, and guided lesson plans, the Corinth Contraband App enables the famous freed slave community to speak as clearly as from the present day.
A Community for Freedmen
At its height, 6,000 former slaves called Corinth’s Contraband Camp “home.” The community was established by Union General Grenville M. Dodge for the comfort, education, and ultimate transition of newly freed men, women, and children.
Composed of multiple homes, a church, a school, and a hospital, the former slaves who occupied Corinth’s Contraband Camp founded a cooperative farming program and even managed a profit from cotton and vegetables, allowing them a certain degree of new economic freedom.
A Site Brought to Life
Today, Corinth’s Contraband Camp is populated mostly by bronze statues depicting its former inhabitants. A quarter-mile walkway guides visitors through the history and significance of the site where so many of the newly freed began their emancipated lives.
The Corinth Contraband App brings these statues to life through augmented reality and narration. By simply aiming a smart device at the statues, visitors can hear from the subjects themselves. In fact, the camp’s past residents are given new life by present day residents. Members of the nearby Booneville Boys’ and Girls’ Club volunteered to lend their voices to the voiceless.
Though best enjoyed at the site itself, the app will also allow for distance learning at home or wherever you are. At a time when field trips and educational getaways are difficult, the Corinth Contraband App brings history straight into the palm of your hand.
History in Color
With a simple click, you can download the Corinth Contraband App from the app store on your smart device. Through the power of technology, the hopes and dreams of the newly freed from the 19th century can reach the ears of the curious in the 21st.
Visit Corinth Safely
We look forward to welcoming visitors to Mississippi’s scenic outdoors and numerous tourism offerings throughout the state. Guests are advised to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines while both traveling to and visiting our beautiful state. Safe practices include washing hands regularly with soap and water, minimizing close contact with others, maintaining a minimum of six feet of social distance from others, and wearing masks where mandated. Though the world looks a bit different these days, Corinth is proud to offer a number of socially-distant and outdoor attractions like the historic Contraband Camp.
To find out more about reopenings, closures, or safety guidelines at your favorite local attractions, please check local businesses’ websites or contact Visit Corinth today. #VisitCorinthSafely