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The Clarence Avant Civic Summer Fellowship

April 15, 2016
Arts and Humanities
Social Science
Chicago, IL


The HistoryMakers are pleased to announce The Clarence Avant Civic Summer Fellowship, in honor of Clarence Avant, former board chair of Motown Records, who is known as the “Godfather” of the music industry. Clarence Avant is the embodiment of civic engagement, actively supporting political causes and organizations like The HistoryMakers and Operation PUSH throughout his life. Mr. Avant used music as his medium to act as a “knight-in-shining-armor,” always coming to aid those in need when prospects were at their lowest. The fellowship runs for 10 weeks in the summer (Monday, May 30, 2016 - Friday, August 5, 2016) and provides fellows with a $5,000.00 stipend.

The Fellow will make extensive use of research, writing, and presentation skills throughout the duration of his/her fellowship. Using The HistoryMakers collections and Digital Archive, the Fellow will conduct research to gain a first-hand understanding of the civic process of local and national social and political institutions. The Fellow will assist in processing collections, as well as conducting preliminary interview research into the backgrounds and lives of potential HistoryMakers. The Fellow will explore ways to expand and promote the annual Back To School With The HistoryMakers program, a nationwide K-12 educational and public service event, as a community-building initiative. The Fellow will develop an action plan for civic engagement at his/her home institution, implementing The HistoryMakers Digital Archive as an educational resource. This plan will seek to build a tangible university-community partnership, which involves collaboration, reciprocal knowledge generation and the advancement of scholarship on African American history.

The purpose of The Clarence Avant Civic Summer Fellowship is to use The HistoryMakers collection as a catalyst to make a difference – locally and nationally, and to deepen the Fellow’s understanding of civic/social issues, or the nature of civic engagement, through research on civic leaders and policymakers in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive and collection.

Eligibility: The Clarence Avant Civic Summer Fellowship is open to interested candidates in their junior or senior year at a four-year accredited university, majoring in public policy, history, African American studies, archival or library sciences, or a humanities related field. Candidates must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; possess a demonstrated interest in public policy, history, African American studies, archival or library sciences, or a humanities related field (tinterest can be demonstrated through academic coursework, volunteer or work experience, or through a personal statement in application essay); have a demonstrated commitment to service and community building shown through past experiences; proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite; and a GPA if 3.5 or higher. Lodging arrangements are the responsibility of the fellow. Applicants will be provided with information on local housing options upon acceptance as The Clarence Avant Civic Summer Fellow.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES: Submit the following materials by Friday, April 15, 2016, for consideration:

1.      Cover letter stating your interest in the fellowship and your future career goals (please include an email address and a daytime telephone number).

2.      Essay or written statement (750 – 1,000 words) addressing one or all of the following:

  • Your interest in using education or African American history to effect civic and social change;
  • Your interest in a specific social issue related to the African American community; and/or,
  • How you will use knowledge and skills learned during this fellowship to impact your future career.

3.      Resume or CV indicating your academic background, work experience, and volunteer service.

4.      Undergraduate transcript. Also include a printout of classes in which you are currently enrolled, if applicable.

5.      Three letters of recommendation.

Submit application material to:

The Clarence Avant Civic Summer Fellowship

The HistoryMakers

1900 S Michigan Ave

Chicago, IL 60616


The HistoryMakers is a growing and dynamic 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating an unprecedented national video oral history archival institution recording the stories of both well-known and unsung African American HistoryMakers. The goal is to record at least 5,000 oral history interviews and to expose this material to the public through strategic media, technology, academic and community partnerships. In June 2014, the nation’s foremost repository—the Library of Congress—announced that it will serve as the permanent repository of The HistoryMakers collection. In 2015, Harvard University, Yale University, Boston University, Howard University, and Emory University all licensed The HistoryMakers Digital Archive for use on their campuses, and in the classroom. For further information contact The HistoryMakers at: