UMass Boston

Scholarships and Awards

The Department of Africana Studies at University of Massachusetts Boston has created a roster of prizes and fellowships for students and faculty. It is our hope that these awards will stimulate important scholarly inquiry into this emerging field of academic discourse, and promote community service throughout America and the African Diaspora.


The Clinton M. Jean Book Prize in Africana Studies was established in honor of Professor Clinton Jean (1936-1993), former Professor of Black Studies. Born in Trinidad, Professor Jean came to the University of Massachusetts after completing his studies at Columbia University and his PhD in Sociology at Brandeis University. A dedicated teacher and scholar, Professor Jean published a number of articles, and an acclaimed book, Behind the Eurocentric Veils: The Search for African Realities. The Clinton M. Jean Book Prize is given each year to a graduating senior who has the highest Grade Point Average in the Department of Africana Studies.


The David Walker Prize has been established in the Department of Africana Studies to recognize achievement in both scholarship and community service.  A cash scholarship will be given annually to a graduating senior, who majors in Africana Studies, is nominated and shows evidence of involvement in Boston community development projects for at least one year while enrolled as a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and superior academic achievement.


The Harriet Tubman Essay Prize has been established in the Department of Africana Studies to stimulate student research on issues of Black freedom and resistance. The prize has been named after the great nineteenth century freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman, who escaped from slavery, but returned to the South to rescue at least two hundred (200) Blacks from slavery. She has been called “the greatest heroine of the age,” a freedom fighter who put her own freedom in jeopardy in order to secure freedom for others. The prize is given this year to the student who best exemplifies courage and determination to succeed academically against all odds.

Charles E. MERRILL Caribbean Study Fellowships

These fellowships enable students at the University of Massachusetts to study, travel and conduct research abroad under the guidance and supervision of University of Massachusetts Boston faculty members. The endowed fellowship program creates a pool of financial resources from which the Department can draw to support travel and resource initiatives for students.

The James Bradford Ames Fellowship Program

The purpose of the Ames fellowship program is to support long term research and publications on all aspects of African-American and Cape Verdean social history in Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and New Bedford. Specifically, the awards are intended to encourage detailed studies of influential families and individuals from the region, including their professions and major occupational activities and the history of the African-American and Cape Verdean presence throughout the area. The research may be approached from any discipline or comparative perspective which helps to place these communities in a broader national, regional or global perspective.