The ECGM project seeks to reconstruct the 18th-century experiences of enslaved children and adults on the Gunston Hall Plantation in order to raise awareness about the namesake of George Mason University, the benefits he derived from the institution of slavery, and his belief that the people he owned were property without free will or basic rights. The project's research results are showcased in an online exhibit created on the Omeka platform, and the project's broader goals have been realized: initializing discussions about the impact of slavery on higher education institutions, seeing the work of the project expand, and recognizing the enslaved individuals of Gunston Hall with a campus memorial.
The project's co-directors were Wendi Manuel-Scott and Benedict Carton, who launched the research after receiving a generous grant from Mason's Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities & Research. Benjamin Hurwitz and George Oberle served as assistant directors. Other faculty partners included Jennifer Ritterhouse, Rosemarie Zagarri, and Spencer Crew. Finally, the student organization, Honors College Black Ambition, is recognized as a vital creator of the ECGM project.
The ECGM project was inaugurated in the summer of 2017 by five selected undergraduates: Alexis Bracey, Global Affairs; Kye Farrow, History; Ayman Fatima, Government & International Politics; Elizabeth Perez-Garcia, Criminology, Law & Society; and Farhaj Murshed, Community Health. Each student worked on a specific topic that advanced the overarching goals of the project.