Camp Lejeune Digital Community Archive Project: An Analysis of Digital Public History Efforts to Achieve Social Justice for the Camp Lejeune Drinking Water Contamination 1999-2017
This digital thesis seeks to evaluate the impact of the digitization of analog record archives in environmental justice activities for the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Community. The details of the Camp Lejeune contaminated drinking water issue are firmly rooted in the analog era of record keeping and were all but forgotten by the affected community when the base was listed as a National Priority site in 1989. However, government public health activities at the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in the late 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the digitization of records from the military and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency onto CD-ROM discs and made available to the community and public. The conversion of the data from an analog paper format, restricted to onsite archives, into a digital medium provided the community an opportunity to independently assess the historical facts free from government interpretation and challenge the official Marine Corps narrative. My role as the community's informal public historian allowed for the organization and utilization of these historical documents to create a community-based narrative using digital timelines. This work led to several congressional investigations into the drinking water contamination which were ultimately instrumental in the passage of legislative relief for the service personnel and their families who were exposed to the contaminated drinking water aboard the base.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Partain, Michael, "Camp Lejeune Digital Community Archive Project: An Analysis of Digital Public History Efforts to Achieve Social Justice for the Camp Lejeune Drinking Water Contamination 1999-2017" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 543.