Published October 29, 2020

The Virginia Humanities Fellowship program is operating entirely remotely for the duration of the 2020-2021 academic year. The Fellowship program initially moved online in accordance with the statewide stay-at-home orders issued in March 2020; since then, regular virtual webinars and online discussions have replaced in-person talks, allowing current and previous Virginia Humanities Fellows to continue sharing their research with audiences in and around Virginia. Ordinarily based out of the Virginia Humanities office in Charlottesville and at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, the Fellowship Program affords scholars and writers the space and resources required to research and share stories important to all Virginians. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has limited access to these resources, the Fellowship Program nonetheless continues to advance exciting, meaningful scholarship—while adhering to social distancing recommendations.

Two new Fellows have been announced for the 2020-2021 academic year. Bill Morris, a journalist and author, is writing a biography of his Virginia-born grandfather, John Morris, whose long life coincided with major events of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries from the Civil War to the Cold War. Linda J. Holmes, an independent scholar and women’s health activist, is researching the history of traditional African American midwifery in Virginia.

Morris and Holmes join Don DeBats, a multi-year Virginia Humanities Fellow whose research on viva voce voting patterns and the legacy of the Fifteenth Amendment has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Virginia Humanities’ Fellowship program awards stipends and offers resources to scholars and writers for one or more semesters. More than 350 individuals have been awarded a Fellowship since 1986. “We’re excited to have these new authors and researchers join us and are gratified to give them the time and community in which to develop their work,” says Matthew Gibson, executive director of Virginia Humanities. “We appreciate the diverse perspectives their work represents and look forward to them sharing their Virginia stories with the public.”

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the next Virginia Humanities fellowship cycle (Fall 2021 and Spring 2022) has been postponed and no new applications are being accepted. The application process is expected to resume for the 2022-2023 academic year. Visit the Fellowship page for further information and updates.

2020-2021 Academic Year Non-Residential Fellows

Fall 2019 & Spring 2020:

Don DeBats
American Studies, Flinders University (Australia)
Black and White Oral Voting in the First Enfranchisement

Fall 2020:

Bill Morris
Independent author, New York City
The Astonishment: John Morris in the Extraordinary Century

Spring 2021: 

Linda Holmes
Independent author, Hampton, VA
Birthing Gifts:  African American Midwives in Virginia and Cultural Retentions

# # #

About Virginia Humanities

Virginia Humanities is the state humanities council. We aim to tell the stories of all Virginians—or, better yet, find ways for people to tell their own stories. We want to connect Virginians with their history and culture and, in doing that, help bring us all a bit closer together. Virginia Humanities is headquartered in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, but our work covers the Commonwealth. Founded in 1974, we are one of fifty-six organizations created by the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans.

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.