Kathleen Neal Cleaver, professor of law at Emory University, was once a leader of the Black Panther Party.
With her fellowship this year from the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research, she will be able to write a memoir about her experiences.
Roger R. House of Boston University is looking at a more musical project. During his time at Harvard, he'll investigate the life and songs of traveling man William 'Big Bill' Broonzy.
Cleaver and House are two of 21 resident fellows for 1995-96 at the DuBois Institute.
While at Harvard, the fellows research projects of their choice. The intent of the program is to give scholars the chance to pursue their interests and talk with others in the field of Afro-American studies.
Topics the fellows are covering this year include. "The Science of Skin Color in the Age of Reason," "African Initiatives against Minority Rule in South Africa: A Politicized Diaspora in World Politics" and "Towards an Historical Sociology of Cultural Complexity in African-American Populations."
Most of the scholars are post-doctoral faculty members who teach in universities, said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the institute.
Twelve of the fellows are Americans; the other nine come from seven foreign countries, including Israel, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Nigeria.
Gates will lead weekly colloquia with the fellows, when they will hear from such faculty luminaries as Cornel West, K. Anthony Appiah, Charles Ogletree and Martin Kilson.
Established in 1975, the DuBois Institute is the oldest research center in the field of Afro-American studies.
With a grant from the Ford Foundation and a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Gates said the Institute hopes to establish a $5 million endowment over five years, $3 million of which will go toward endowing six fellowships.
Since most of its money comes from grants and foundations the institute does not have permanent funding, said senior officer Peter T. Glenshaw.
"Twenty years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, [Afro-American studies] was supported in many places, but now it's under attack," Glenshaw said. "We felt as though with our rebuilding activities this was our perfect opportunity to talk to people about making a contribution."
The institute's endowment campaign is part of the University's $2.2 billion capital campaign.
Two of the resident fellows are from Harvard: Lisa M. Gates, who is writing about "Images of the African and African American in Modern German Literature and Culture," and Michael Vorenberg, who is working on "Final Freedom: The 13th Amendment in History and Memory."
Other fellows are Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Robert R. Krueger, Elizabeth McHenry, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Sidney N. Klaus, Maria Diedrich, Rebecca Carroll, Barry Hallen, Mary Hamer, Roger R. House, Shelly Leanne, Alessandra Lorini, Jill Netchinsky-Toussaint, Stephan Palmie, Barbara L. Solow, Therese Steffen and Patricia Sullivan.
In related news, Professor Barbara J. Fields of Columbia University will deliver this year's DuBois lectures on Sept. 25-27. The topic will be "Humane Letters: The Art and Duty of the Word."
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