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The Junior Scholars Program


One-hundred youth from the New York Metropolitan area, ages 11 to 18, will be selected to participate in the 13 year of this uniquely designed pre-college black studies program at the Schomburg Center/NYPL.  The Saturday sessions run from 10 am to 3 pm and are designed with an inquiry-based and project-based approach to teaching about black American history and the global black experience.  Weekly, the Junior Scholars attend college-style lectures and presentations, engage in dialogue with adult scholars, participate in guided peer group discussions and activities, generate individual research projects and portfolios, and create collaborative media and arts projects that grow from their intensive study based on the Schomburg’s vast collections, exhibitions, and educational resources.  Through this process, it is expected that Junior Scholars will 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 of the lands and cultures of their prolific and trailblazing ancestors.  The program begins on October 25, 2014 and culminates on May 23, 2015 with the annual Youth Summit. 


The Schomburg Junior Scholars program is made possible through the generous support of The David Rockefeller Fund and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Inez Dickens, the New York City Council, NYS Assembly Member Keith Wright, NYS Senator Bill Perkins and the New York State Legislature


NEW APPLICATIONS FOR 2014 ARE HERE -- Download Attachments Below!! 

Submission Deadline Date is September 30, 2014.

The checklist on the cover of the application outlines the paperwork required to process your application.  “New Scholars” refers to youth who have never participated in the program before, and “Returning Scholars” refers to youth who have previously participated in the Junior Scholars Program.  A program calendar is also available in the application package - Download the application from the link below.


Deirdre Lynn Hollman, Director

The Junior Scholars Program at the Schomburg Center

The New York Public Library

515 Malcolm X Blvd.

New York, NY 10037

[Entrance on the corner of Lenox Avenue & 135th Street]

For questions, Email 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 (as part of this work students are granted 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; and
An Annual Youth Summit, the Program’s culminating presentation and celebration in May.

“The relationships formed at the Schomburg every Saturday are ever binding. I’ve watched scholars who have gone off to top educational institutions of higher leaning who stay in constant communications with those they have left behind, encouraging us to continue on our journey. As a four-time returning scholar, I am committed to sharing what I have learned with my peers who have not been as fortunate as I have been to be a member of the Junior Scholars Program.”   – Taylor, 11th grade, 5th year Junior Scholar

“The Junior Scholars Program also helped me improve my school work. I love reading and at the program we got books from the many people who came to speak with us and encouraged us to learn and understand our culture. I was fascinated with my video project group; I never held a camera like that before nor had I ever visited a newsroom. The Junior Scholars Program not only gave me somewhere to go on Saturdays but provided me with an extension of learning marketable skills at my age.”  – Samuel, 6th grade, 3rd year Junior Scholar

 “The Junior Scholars Program has made a significant change in my daughter’s life. Before joining the Scholars Program, she was having some issues with her eighth grade school work. After going to the program every Saturday for almost six weeks, I noticed an improvement in her academic performance, and her teachers noticed it too. The Junior Scholars Program opened [my daughter’s] eyes to parts of history that schools dare not to mention. She would come home and teach me things that I had never heard of.”  - Leslie, Parent of Sierra, 9th grade, 3rd year Junior Scholar

TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE JUNIOR SCHOLARS PROGRAM & CHECK OUT THE 2012 SCHOMBURG REVIEW!  See link below.  This youth produced magazine documents the Junior Scholars’ program year and features the contributions of the teens in the Media/Journalism Special Projects Team.