Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

C.V. Starr Center for the

Study of the American Experience

Frederick Douglass Fellowships

Frederick Douglass Fellowships support independent work in African-American studies and related areas. The author, activist, and diplomat Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), for whom the fellowships were named, was born in Talbot County, Maryland, about 30 miles south of Chestertown, and retained a deep attachment to the Eastern Shore until the end of his life.

imageAn annual spring semester grant of up to $1500 to a Washington College sophomore or junior to work on a research project related to African-American studies. 

Douglass Fellowships were established through a generous gift from Maurice Meslans and Margaret Holyfield of St. Louis. They fund an annual spring semester grant of up to $1500 to a sophomore or junior to work on a research project related to African-American studies. Topics pertaining to—in the words of the donors—other “minority American” fields (Asian-American studies, gay and lesbian studies, Latino studies, et al.) will also be considered. In addition to funding student projects, each year, during the spring semester, the Douglass Fellowships also bring to campus a visiting scholar, writer, musician, etc. engaged in the study or interpretation of African-American history and related fields.

The grant covers research trips and book purchases, and helps support recipients while they work on their projects. Each Frederick Douglass Fellow selects a faculty member to guide the project; the mentor receives a $500 honorarium for his or her participation. Working side by side with their chosen mentor, Douglass Fellows are able to take their academic work to a new level, pursuing independent research beyond the classroom.

Frederick Douglass Fellows are required to present their work in written form by 
the end of the semester, submit it for publication in a journal or magazine (either printed or online, and either on- or off-campus), and give an oral presentation on their findings.


Applications for Spring 2015 must be received by November 15, 2014.

For more information about the Frederick Douglass Fellowships, please contact Starr Center Coordinator Jenifer Emley at (410) 810-7161, or jemley2@washcoll.edu.  Interested students are strongly encouraged to discuss their draft proposals with Ms. Emley before finalizing their applications.

Past Fellows 


imageKathy Thornton ’13: “The Beginning of the End: How Conflicting Anglo-Powhatan Relations Triggered the Massacre of 1622.”

Faculty Mentor: Adam Goodheart, Director,
C.V. Starr Center


imagePeter H. Wood: Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellow
Emeritus Professor of History, Duke University

Author, Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War





Beverly Frimpong ’12: “W.E.B. DuBois & Booker T. Washington: An Ideological Fusion for the 20th Century”

Faculty Mentor: Joseph Prud’homme, Department of Political Science


imageBrian Suell ’12: “The Essence of Equality:
An Investigation of the Current State of Education
and Poverty in American Cities,” 

Faculty Mentor: Jill Ogline Titus, C.V. Starr Center

Sherilynn Ifill
: Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellowimage 
Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law 

Author, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century