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C.V. Starr Center for the

Study of the American Experience

Frederick Douglass Student 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.

An 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 $1,500 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, LGBT studies, Latino studies, et al.) will also be considered.

The grant covers research trips and book purchases, and helps support students 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 pursue independent research beyond the classroom.

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, and give an oral presentation on their findings.

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

Past Fellows


James Mitchell ’17: “The History of Affirmative Action and Diversity in American Higher Education”
Faculty mentor, Carol Wilson, Department of History


Phaedra Scott ’14: “Discovering August Wilson’s Hill District”
Faculty mentor: Michele Volansky, Department of Drama




Kathy 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



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



Brian 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