Scholars Selected to Receive 2008 Fletcher Fellowships - Higher Education


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Scholars Selected to Receive 2008 Fletcher Fellowships

by Ronald Roach

The annual fellowship program established by financial executive Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, has named four scholars as 2008 Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellows, Fletcher announced Tuesday. Each fellow will receive a stipend of $50,000 for scholarly work that seeks to improve racial equality in American society and pursues the broad social goals set forth by Brown v. Board of Education.

The Fletcher Fellows are as follows: Dr. Clayborne Carson, professor of history at Stanford University and founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute; Dr. Kellie Jones, an associate professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University; Kimberle Crenshaw, a professor of law at the University of California-Los Angeles and Columbia Law Schools; and Stacy L. Leeds, a professor of law at the University of Kansas School of Law.

“As in former years, our selection committee has assembled a class of scholars, each preeminent in their individual fields. Whether working from the discipline of art and cultural studies, history or law, each of this year’s fellows approaches the historical and contemporary challenge of race relations through a project of current relevance,” Fletcher said.

This year’s fellows were chosen from a pool of more than 80 applicants. Fletcher added that one of the top considerations within the selection process is an applicant’s ability to bring a proposed project to finish within one year.

“Considering the past accomplishments of this class of fellows, we greatly look forward to seeing these important projects brought to life in the year ahead,” he said.

Projects to be pursued by the fellows:

* Carson will expand The Liberation Curriculum of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute by providing online educational content as a continuation of the King Digital History Project.

* Jones will create “Eyeminded: A Life of Art and Writing,” a dialogue on modern literary and visual culture through the compilation of personal family essays spanning nearly 50 years. The project will include the work of Jones’ father, the writer Amiri Baraka.

* Crenshaw will complete a writing project entitled “Shattering the Colorblind Ruse: Recapturing the Legacy of Brown, which will analyze how today’s notion of ‘colorblindness’ undermines the ability to address ongoing patterns of racial inequality.

* Leeds will produce a comprehensive history of the Cherokee Freedmen, the African-American slaves held by the Cherokee Nation until the 1860s, and their descendants entitled, “Ties That Bind: Freedmen Citizenship and the Cherokee Nation.”

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University who chaired the selection committee for the 2008 fellows, said the program is the “only one of its kind” with scholars and other thinkers engaged in helping Americans “see how far we have come and how far we still have to go in our efforts to meet the challenge of Brown v. Board.”

“This year’s class of fellows will carry out the vision Mr. Fletcher laid out four years ago when he established a fellowship program that would both honor and investigate the legacy of Brown v. Board,” Gates noted.

The fellows program is administered by the Fletcher Foundation, a private charitable organization established in 1993. Two years prior to launching the foundation, Fletcher founded the New York-based Fletcher Asset Management, Inc. at which he serves as chairman and CEO. See www.fletcherphilanthropy.org for more information on the fellows program and the Fletcher Foundation.

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