Research Programs: Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions

Period of Performance

1/1/2016 - 6/30/2019

Funding Totals

$247,800.00 (approved)
$236,334.00 (awarded)

Long-Term Research Fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

FAIN: RA-228581-15

New York Public Library (New York, NY 10016-0109)
Khalil Gibran Muhammad (Project Director: August 2014 to October 2017)
Kevin Young (Project Director: October 2017 to March 2021)

18 months of stipend support (3 fellowships) per year for three years and a contribution to defray costs associated with the selection of fellows.

The New York Public Library and its Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture respectfully request a grant to support stipend and selection expenses for its Scholars-in-Residence Program from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019. For nearly 30 years, the Scholars-in-Residence Program has nurtured and supported scholarship in the fields of African, African American and African Diasporan studies by offering six month fellowships to scholars whose work can benefit from extended immediate access to the rich resources of the Schomburg Center and NYPL's system-wide resources. (edited by NEH staff)

Associated Products

Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics (Book)
Title: Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics
Author: Soyica Diggs Colbert
Abstract: Black Movements analyzes how artists and activists of recent decades reference earlier freedom movements in order to imagine and produce a more expansive and inclusive democracy. The post–Jim Crow, post–apartheid, postcolonial era has ushered in a purportedly color blind society and along with it an assault on race-based forms of knowledge production and coalition formation. Soyica Diggs Colbert argues that in the late twentieth century race went “underground,” and by the twenty-first century race no longer functioned as an explicit marker of second-class citizenship.
Year: 2017
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 0813588510

Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam (Book)
Title: Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam
Author: Sylvia Chan-Malik
Abstract: For Sylvia Chan-Malik, Muslim womanhood is constructed through everyday and embodied acts of resistance, what she calls affective insurgency. In negotiating the histories of anti-Blackness, U.S. imperialism, and women’s rights of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Being Muslim explores how U.S. Muslim women’s identities are expressions of Islam as both Black protest religion and universal faith tradition. Through archival images, cultural texts, popular media, and interviews, the author maps how communities of American Islam became sites of safety, support, spirituality, and social activism, and how women of color were central to their formation. By accounting for American Islam’s rich histories of mobilization and community, Being Muslim brings insight to the resistance that all Muslim women must engage in the post-9/11 United States.
Year: 2016
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9781479823420

From Archives of Slavery to Liberated Futures? (Article)
Title: From Archives of Slavery to Liberated Futures?
Author: Brian Connolly, Co-editor
Author: Marisa Fuentes
Abstract: This special issue of the journal asks how the violence of the archives of slavery contributes to the production of a history of our present. What is at stake in revisiting the devastation and death contained in the documents of slavery? And is such a revisiting even possible? As several of the authors note, all archives are incomplete—such historical accounts written primarily by the most powerful have overwhelmingly informed our understanding of the past. But what is it about the archives of slavery, the more than 400-year span of forced labor and death of Africans that requires that we pause to consider their particular silences? It is partly about violence—the varied forms of violence on black bodies in slavery that created the conditions by which they are made invisible, mutilated and difficult to reach; they are not easily articulated or narrated in the historical accounts. Even as we formulate new methods that challenge archival power, some things remain unrecoverable, silent. We have irretrievably lost the thoughts, desires, fears, and perspectives of many whose enslavement shaped every aspect of their lives.
Year: 2016
Primary URL:
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: History of the Present
Publisher: University of Illinois Press

Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1923-1957 (Book)
Title: Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1923-1957
Author: Nancy Mirabal
Abstract: The largely unexamined and often forgotten history of more than a hundred years of Cuban exile, migration, diaspora, and community formation Beginning in the early nineteenth century, Cubans migrated to New York City to organize and protest against Spanish colonial rule. While revolutionary wars raged in Cuba, expatriates envisioned, dissected, and redefined meanings of independence and nationhood. An underlying element was the concept of Cubanidad, a shared sense of what it meant to be Cuban. Deeply influenced by discussions of slavery, freedom, masculinity, and United States imperialism, the question of what and who constituted “being Cuban” remained in flux and often, suspect. Suspect Freedoms is the first book to explore Cuban racial and sexual politics in New York during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Nancy Raquel Mirabal delves into the rich cache of primary sources, archival documents, literary texts, club records, newspapers, photographs, and oral histories to write what Michel Rolph Trouillot has termed an “unthinkable history.”
Year: 2017
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814761120

Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community (Book)
Title: Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community
Editor: Ernest Morrell
Editor: Ansley T. Erickson
Abstract: Over the course of the twentieth century, education was a key site for envisioning opportunities for African Americans, but the very schools they attended sometimes acted as obstacles to black flourishing. Educating Harlem brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to provide a broad consideration of the history of schooling in perhaps the nation’s most iconic black community. The volume traces the varied ways that Harlem residents defined and pursued educational justice for their children and community despite consistent neglect and structural oppression. Contributors investigate the individuals, organizations, and initiatives that fostered educational visions, underscoring their breadth, variety, and persistence. Their essays span the century, from the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance through the 1970s fiscal crisis and up to the present. They tell the stories of Harlem residents from a wide variety of social positions and life experiences, from young children to expert researchers to neighborhood mothers and ambitious institution builders who imagined a dynamic array of possibilities from modest improvements to radical reshaping of their schools. Representing many disciplinary perspectives, the chapters examine a range of topics including architecture, literature, film, youth and adult organizing, employment, and city politics. Challenging the conventional rise-and-fall narratives found in many urban histories, the book tells a story of persistent struggle in each phase of the twentieth century. Educating Harlem paints a nuanced portrait of education in a storied community and brings much-needed historical context to one of the most embattled educational spaces today.
Year: 2019
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9780231182218
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Those Who Know Don't Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State (Book)
Title: Those Who Know Don't Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State
Author: Garrett Felber
Abstract: Challenging incarceration and policing was central to the postwar Black Freedom Movement. In this bold new political and intellectual history of the Nation of Islam, Garrett Felber centers the Nation in the Civil Rights Era and the making of the modern carceral state. In doing so, he reveals a multifaceted freedom struggle that focused as much on policing and prisons as on school desegregation and voting rights. The book examines efforts to build broad-based grassroots coalitions among liberals, radicals, and nationalists to oppose the carceral state and struggle for local Black self-determination. It captures the ambiguous place of the Nation of Islam specifically, and Black nationalist organizing more broadly, during an era which has come to be defined by nonviolent resistance, desegregation campaigns, and racial liberalism. By provocatively documenting the interplay between law enforcement and Muslim communities, Felber decisively shows how state repression and Muslim organizing laid the groundwork for the modern carceral state and the contemporary prison abolition movement which opposes it. Exhaustively researched, the book illuminates new sites and forms of political struggle as Muslims prayed under surveillance in prison yards and used courtroom political theater to put the state on trial. This history captures familiar figures in new ways--Malcolm X the courtroom lawyer and A. Philip Randolph the Harlem coalition builder--while highlighting the forgotten organizing of rank-and-file activists in prisons such as Martin Sostre. This definitive account is an urgent reminder that Islamophobia, state surveillance, and police violence have deep roots in the state repression of Black communities during the mid-20th century.
Year: 2020
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-1-4696-538


Merle Curti Intellectual History Award
Date: 4/30/2021
Organization: Organization of American Historians
Abstract: One award is given annually to the author of the best book in American intellectual history.

The Disenchanted Literature of Homeownership, 1922 to 1968 (Book Section)
Title: The Disenchanted Literature of Homeownership, 1922 to 1968
Author: Adrienne Brown
Editor: Chris Hager
Editor: Cody Marrs
Abstract: n/a
Year: 2019
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Book Title: Timelines of American Literature

Schomburg's Library and the Price of Black History (Article)
Title: Schomburg's Library and the Price of Black History
Author: Laura Helton
Abstract: n/a
Year: 2021
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: African American Review 54

Visitation: The Conjure Work of Black Feminist Avant-Garde Cinema (Book)
Title: Visitation: The Conjure Work of Black Feminist Avant-Garde Cinema
Author: Jennifer DeClue
Abstract: In "Visitation," Jennifer DeClue shows how Black feminist avant-garde filmmakers draw from historical archives in order to visualize and reckon with violence suffered by Black women in the United States. DeClue argues that these filmmakers—including Kara Walker, Kara Lynch, Tourmaline, and Ja’Tovia Gary—create spaces of mourning and reckoning rather than voyeurism and pornotropy. Through their use of editing, performance, and cinematic experimentation, these filmmakers intervene in the production of Blackness and activate new ways of seeing Black women and telling their stories. Theorizing these films as a form of conjure work, DeClue shows how these filmmakers raise the specters of Black women from the past and invite them to reveal history from their point of view. In so doing, Black feminist avant-garde filmmakers channel spirits that haunt archives and create cinematic arenas for witnessing Black women battling for survival during pivotal and exceedingly violent moments in US history.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:
Publisher: Duke University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-1-4780-191

Scattered and Fugitive Things: How Black Collectors Created Archives and Remade History (Book)
Title: Scattered and Fugitive Things: How Black Collectors Created Archives and Remade History
Author: Laura Helton
Abstract: During the first half of the twentieth century, a group of collectors and creators dedicated themselves to documenting the history of African American life. At a time when dominant institutions cast doubt on the value or even the idea of Black history, these bibliophiles, scrapbookers, and librarians created an enduring set of African diasporic archives. In building these institutions and amassing abundant archival material, they also reshaped Black public culture, animating inquiry into the nature and meaning of Black history. "Scattered and Fugitive Things" tells the stories of these Black collectors, traveling from the parlors of the urban north to HBCU reading rooms and branch libraries in the Jim Crow south. Laura E. Helton chronicles the work of six key figures: bibliophile Arturo Schomburg, scrapbook maker Alexander Gumby, librarians Virginia Lee and Vivian Harsh, curator Dorothy Porter, and historian L. D. Reddick. Drawing on overlooked sources such as book lists and card catalogs, she reveals the risks collectors took to create Black archives. This book also explores the social life of collecting, highlighting the communities that used these collections from the South Side of Chicago to Roanoke, Virginia. In each case, Helton argues, archiving was alive in the present, a site of intellectual experiment, creative abundance, and political possibility. Offering new ways to understand Black intellectual and literary history, Scattered and Fugitive Things reveals Black collecting as a radical critical tradition that reimagines past, present, and future.
Year: 2024
Primary URL:
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Type: Single author monograph