Monday, April 15, 2013

Announcing the Mellon Scholars in Early African American History

Detail of woodcut from The American Anti-Slavery Almanac from 1837 (Boston 1836).
This June, the Library Company will launch its Mellon Scholars Program, a four-year initiative designed to strengthen the field of Early African American History by promoting scholarship in this area and helping to diversify the ranks of academic historians. Through a $425,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program will encourage young scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and others to pursue historical research in early African American history, help prepare them for graduate careers, and offer fellowship support for research in our collections. This new initiative builds on the existing Program in African American History, which was founded in 2007 through a grant from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation to formalize the Library Company’s pioneering contributions to the field.

The Mellon Scholars program will support scholars who lack traditional professional resources by offering research internships for undergraduates and summer research preparedness workshops for those applying to or having recently entered graduate programs, and funding four short-term fellowships, one dissertation fellowship, and one post-doctoral fellowship annually. On an ongoing basis, the Program in African American History will also conduct outreach initiatives to under-resourced colleges and universities to make their faculty aware of what we have to offer, and will engage in a range of activities designed to promote a supportive professional network among EAAH scholars. The program is designed to have lasting impact by nurturing and supporting the progress of promising scholars from their final undergraduate year throughout the duration of their careers.

In addition to bringing together scholars, the Program in African American History also educates and engages the general public through exhibitions, lectures, and programs. The Library Company recently launched a Facebook pagefor the Program in African American History to increase public awareness of our collections and contributions to Early African American History. With incomparable collections, a stellar reputation in the world of research libraries, a distinguished network of fellowship alumni and advisors, and institutional relationships with a diverse range of educational and cultural institutions, the Library Company is uniquely placed to advance understanding of Early African American History and provide a support system for promising academics. 

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