George Washington, Slavery, and Contemporary America

When I began this project, my only intention was to document the archaeological survey taking place at the slave cemetery at Mount Vernon. It sounded interesting, so I had planned on discussing their goals and methods, and the progress that had been made since the project began. Almost as soon as I started my research, though, I realized that my questions were really shallow and did not address the reasons why the project needed to be done in the first place.

I knew that George Washington owned captive people, but I was unaware of the magnitude of that choice. Of course, George Washington did not invent American slavery, but his active participation in it has had lasting consequences for this country and the way that we perceive race. As I dug deeper it became easier to see connections between slavery and racial inequalities throughout every time period in American history,  and I realized that this was the story that needed to be told. I still talk about the archaeological survey in terms of restorative justice and moving forward, but it became a much smaller part of my project than I had originally intended it to be.

Most of the dialog from the video is taken directly from my research paper. My biggest struggle was condensing it down into a reasonable amount of time while still getting my point across. I wanted to include a lot more, and it could have easily been twice as long, but I understand the value of conciseness.  I would encourage anyone who watches my video or is interested in learning more about the topic to take a look at my research paper, George Washington, Slavery, and Contemporary America. It provides a lot more context and detail, as well as a full bibliography that pertains to both my paper and my video.

Thanks for watching!


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