The Schomburg Center Junior Scholars Program

Two people are seated at a table looking at archival photographs.
Two students from the 2022–23 class of the Schomburg Center's Junior Scholars Program are viewing archival pictures in the Photographs and Prints Division. Photo: Kadiatou Tubman

Overview

Each year, 100 youth from 5th through 12th grade participate in the Schomburg Center's Junior Scholars program. This tuition-free Saturday program (10 AM to 3 PM) during the academic year promotes historical literacy through college-style lectures and presentations, group discussions and activities, and project-based learning. Students generate individual research, original writing, art portfolios, and collaborative multimedia arts projects from their intensive study of the Center’s archives and resources.

Through this program, the Schomburg's Junior Scholars increase their historical literacy, expand their knowledge of who they are as intellectual, social, cultural and artistic beings, embrace their legacy as African-American citizens, and learn about the cultures of their prolific and trailblazing ancestors.
 

Applications

Applications to the 2024–2025 class of the Junior Scholars program will be available in summer.  If there are any questions about the program, please email SiraLewis@nypl.org or call 212-491-2207.

Junior Scholars Program Curriculum

The curriculum for the Junior Scholars Program is dynamic and themes change every year in relation to the Schomburg Center’s lead exhibitions, archival and digital collections, and current events.

It is important to note that the topics covered as part of the Junior Scholars curriculum are not often addressed as part of student’s in-school learning. By highlighting the important contributions that African-Americans have made to U.S. history and culture, the program makes an important impression on participants and instills a deeper understanding about their heritage and the important role they play as citizens. The Junior Scholars Program is unique in that it is one of the only opportunities middle- and high school-aged students in the New York area have to engage in structured, in-depth learning about black history.  

A listing of the various types of Junior Scholars curriculum activities:

  • Lectures/Seminars featuring leading authorities in African-American & Africana studies
  • Video and film screenings
  • Cultural arts performances
  • Special workshops in music, theater, dance, video production, magazine publication, visual arts and spoken word
  • Research projects, with special access to the Schomburg Center collections and exhibitions
  • Professional development forums for careers in fields such as business, medicine, law, science, technology, entertainment, education, and performing arts
  • Educational tours of New York City historical and cultural sites
  • “Teen Talk” book discussion groups that require students to read two books each year
  • An Annual Youth Summit, the program’s culminating presentation and celebration in May

Testimonials

"Doing the Junior Scholars Program has changed me for my entire life. I came in without a place for myself or my culture. I was able to not only learn and appreciate my culture, but find people who were like minded to me. The ju ior scholars program something that I have looked forward to EVERY Saturday for the past 3 years.  Without Junior Scholars I would not be who I am today, and it is needed for young people like me who need a place for their culture and heritage to flourish." — Kiesse, high school junior

"This programs allows my son to get out of his community and discover a new world outside of his environment. This allows him to understand differences and more about others." — Janise, parent.

"The Junior Scholars Program is, in so many ways, one of the greatest expressions of Arturo Schomburg’s vision for the transformative power that knowledge of the Black past has for Black people. JSP offers participants a life-changing opportunity to explore, research and create, drawing on a first rate archival repository and guided by a group of exceptional educators." — Melissa, parent

"The Schomburg Center is very important to me. It has taught me things that I do not learn at school and information that is withheld by those who have the power to do so. I've been a part of so many life changing opportunities because of JSP." — Ealan, high school junior

 

If you would like to receive information about the Schomburg Center's upcoming public progams, exhibitions, research guides, and more, sign up for our free e-newsletter Schomburg Connection .

Support for the Schomburg Junior Scholars program is made possible through the generosity of Puma, The Carver Scholarship Fund, the New York City Council, and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.

The name "Puma" is on a white background and has black lettering.  A puma leaping in mid-air is on the right side and next to the letter "A" in the word Puma.

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