The Junior Scholars Program


Each year, 100 youth ages 11–18 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 Schomburg Center’s archives, exhibitions, and educational 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.

This year's program will be virtual until further notice.

Applications | Curriculum | Testimonials


Online applications for 20202021 are now available:
Apply Now (New Applicants) Youth living outside of New York City are welcome to apply.
Deadline: Monday, September 14, 2020 at 11:59pm EST.

For questions, e-mail or call 212.491.2207.

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


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

The Schomburg Junior Scholars program is made possible through the generous support of the New York Life Foundation, The Carver Scholarship Fund, the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., the New York City Council, and the New York State Legislature.