Thursday, September 7, 2017

OSCAR Student Farhaj Murshed Researches the Enslaved Children of George Mason

Working on the Enslaved Children of George Mason Summer Research Project was honestly a blessing. I’ve gotten to do some great research and work with great people, so it never felt like I was “working.” What got me interested in the Enslaved Children of George Mason Project was the fact that it was about time we address our history. Recently, college campuses around the country have been partaking in projects of their own to tell the truth of their respective universities’ namesakes, and I wanted to be a part of the project on my institution, George Mason. I see this project being related to my long-term goals; I’ve chosen to focus on the health and wellness of the enslaved at Gunston Hall, and as a community health major this project gave me research experience in my field, such as evaluating diets and life outcomes. On a weekly basis, what I’m doing varies but essentially, I’m always trying to find new information about how the enslaved were treated, whether that be through correspondence between George Mason and his contemporaries, or other peoples knowledge about George Mason, wills, probates, and account books at Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon, the Library of Congress, or online on research databases. Lastly, one thing I discovered this term was how to use library databases to my advantage. In a college setting, I have yet to do research with databases as I did so often in high school. This project allowed me to explore the resources we have at our university to research things – there’s so much from the eighteenth century that one wouldn’t imagine we have access to!