Receiving new knowledge on a certain subject, specifically through research, has been truly gratifying during my time here at Emory. Truthfully, I had not conducted much research in certain disciplines before I began my academic coursework this semester. Currently, I am delving in two research projects for my Intro to African American Studies and English 101 class. During my research in both courses, I was able to uncover topics and information that are sometimes overlooked or never even sought after. I plan to further my current research in my African American Studies class due to my passion for the subject and the possibility of the course becoming my minor.
While digging for sources to utilize in my research for African American Studies, I am left in complete awe by what I discover. My focus or objective is to expose the truth to black babies being used as alligator bait in the South during the slavery/Jim crow era. I have been taking advantage of the resources provided to me as a student of Emory, such as MARBL and other databases. I have come across numerous photographs and postcards picturing weeping black babies dangling from the mouths of alligators. These types of recollection of the practice sometimes leave me traumatized and slightly infuriated. Imagining the pain mothers held in bondage experienced from their children being grabbed in the middle of the night, placed in chicken coupes, and transported to nearby swamps for use in hunting alligators creates a frightening image in my mind. I am left not only sympathetic to mothers in that time period, but often mothers today who go through similar experiences of their children being involved in harrowing situations. Discovering this new knowledge or information also makes me question its impact on current race relations. Will the hatred and oppression continue to be transferred due to the availability to sources of historical events? I have many questions that I plan to answer during my quest of knowledge and I hope I can produce answers that could possibly be used to help others formulate their research.
Research affects people in many different ways; my research has allowed me to develop a keener sense of history and how it can be sometimes masked by broader topics. For example, history books do a great job of covering and giving accounts of slavery, but it takes greater precision for researchers to find such a topic of black babies being used as alligator bait. Conducting research is never an easy task and I am a true testament to that statement. Sites and information can throw one in circles and leave one to question other sources’ validity. Patience is the most effective tool in being able to conduct research successfully.
In my opinion, one can never truly complete research on a certain topic. The pleasure of living in the 21st century is that we have access to a tremendous amount of information. Besides, when focusing on a specific topic, there are many angles in which you can broaden or specify the way the information is viewed. It takes a dedicated person to be a researcher and I am slowing starting to notice that in my quest for new knowledge.