Fisk University Establishes the John Lewis Center for Social Justice Fellowship Program

The three Fellowships are focused on specific areas in the continued fight for justice including policy, the arts, and STEM

NASHVILLE, TN—Fisk University today announced the establishment of three Fellowships to support the John Lewis Center for Social Justice’s comprehensive agenda. The John Lewis Center was founded in 2019 to foster and advance social justice across every sphere of contemporary society by engendering rigorous research, applying scholarship, artistic production, and community engagement locally as well as globally.

The Fellowships are directed at three distinct areas of social justice impact:

  • Policy/Activism: The Policy/Activism Fellow will follow in the footsteps of iconic Fiskites Diane Nash and the late Congressman John Lewis to continue the fight against bigotry and confront ongoing attacks on civil rights like voting, healthcare, and education.
  • Arts/Culture: The Arts/Culture Fellow is inspired by extraordinary Fisk artists, poets, and musicians such as Nikki Giovanni, Arna Bontemps, Aaron Douglas and the Fisk Jubilee Singers–-all of whom have sought to promote social justice through their work.
  • Tech/Data Science: The Tech/Data Science Fellow will advance the tradition of Fisk Alumni W.E.B DuBois to shape the evolving data, science, and tech fields toward ensuring full and equitable access to Black communities, both as consumers and as producers.

“This Fellowship program will be instrumental in expanding the impact and reach of the Center and we could not be more excited to begin the search for these exceptional scholars,” said Dr. Karida Brown, the Endowed Chair and Director of the John Lewis Center.   

“Fisk University has always been synonymous with a global concern for equality, inclusion, and prosperity. From W.E.B DuBois to Ida B. Wells, John R. Lewis and Diane Nash, Fisk has helped shape a better world for more than one hundred and fifty years,” said Fisk University President Vann Newkirk.

According to Fisk’s Executive Vice President Jens Frederiksen, “Today’s student body shares this ethos and appetite for a university experience that incorporates social justice across all disciplines. The establishment of this Fellowship recognizes the tremendous social justice ethos among Fisk students and the future impact of this Center.”

The Fellowships were made possible with the generous support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

“We are proud to partner with Fisk to support the Fellowship program, which will help to carry forward Congressman John Lewis’ extraordinary legacy of activism, civic engagement and social change. We believe that investing in and expanding the capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Fisk is critically important for supporting the next generation of great Black scholars and leaders, as well as for shaping a stronger, more equitable economy,” stated Stacy Schusterman, Chair, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.


Founded in 1866, Fisk University is a private, liberal arts university located in Nashville, Tennessee. Recognized for its brand of academic excellence, Fisk consistently ranks among the Top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the U.S. News & World Report. Fisk University’s focus has always been on student success and outcomes. Fisk excels at preparing its highly motivated student body for prosperous professional careers and elite graduate schools. From the classroom to the boardroom, a Fisk education gives students the tools to turn their passions into careers and prepare them to make a difference in their own lives, communities, and around the world. To learn more about Fisk University, please visit