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Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

The Starr Center’s annual Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellowship brings to campus scholars, writers, musicians and others engaged in the study or interpretation of African-American history or a related field. The fellowship also offers Washington College students and faculty a chance to spend time with some of today’s leading thinkers in the arts and humanities.

Frederick Douglass Fellowships support the innovative research, development and implementation of collaborative public humanities programs on the history and culture of African-Americans and other underrepresented groups in the public humanities.

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. Frederick Douglass was a self-directed learner, organizer, and activist. He reached across race, class, gender, discipline and profession to produce scholarship with the public and for the public. He championed the humanity of diverse peoples across the globe including African-Americans, Native Americans, and women. He gave voice to the voiceless, speaking out for them when he had to, but perhaps more importantly, creating platforms for them to project their voices. Therefore, Frederick Douglass Fellowships seek to support projects focused on the history and humanity of underrepresented communities and cultures.

Established through a generous gift from Maurice Meslans and Margaret Holyfield of St. Louis, the annual Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellowship brings to campus established scholars, writers, musicians, artists and others engaged in the study or interpretation of African American history or a field related to underrepresented cultures. The fellowship offers Washington College students and faculty a chance to spend time with some of today’s leading thinkers in the arts and humanities.

Fellowship funds are awarded to leading cultural scholars engaged in the creative process and practice of public humanities that shed new perspectives on underrepresented communities and cultures. Generally, funds support up to five days in residence at Washington College. During their residency, fellowship recipients work side-by-side with Washington College students to lead workshops, conduct research, and create collaborative projects culminating in a public presentation or performance . The Starr Center does not accept unsolicited applications for this fellowship.

For more information, please contact Starr Center Assistant Director Jean Wortman at 410-810-7165 or jwortman2@washcoll.edu.

To learn more about past Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellows, please visit this page.