Recipients of the Chester Davis Scholarship Award 2021
Monday, December 13, 2021
Monday, December 13, 2021
We are pleased to announce that this year's Chester Davis Scholarship has been awarded to two of our majors: Carolyn Parker-Fairbain and Zach Steward. Both Carolyn and Zach are dedicated majors in the Du Bois Department who are also actively involved with campus life and organizing. Many thanks to the scholarship committee for their work on this award. The Professor Chester Davis Scholarship was established to provide financial support to undergraduate students in the W.E.B Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Professor Davis was an early member of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies 1971-1992. He helped recruit prominent activists and scholars for the department. His constant encouragement and unflagging support of the students he mentored during his more than 20-year tenure transformed the lives of his students.
Carolyn Parker-Fairbain is a senior in Afro-American Studies with minors in Theater and History and a certificate in Multicultural Theater. At UMass Amherst, Parker-Fairbain has focused her organizational energy at the intersections of Black studies and the arts, centering creativity’s role in building alternative worlds. Through theater, Parker-Fairbain honed her storytelling abilities and imagining capacities in and beyond the Theater Department in productions such as Baltimore by Kirsten Greenidge, PlayLab of Walden by Amy Berryman, Visionary Futures: Science Fiction Theatre for Social Justice Movements with Josh Glenn-Kayden and with the Re/Emergence Collective created by Jen Onopa and Darius Taylor. In museum programming she supported the infusion of Black feminist and Afrofuturist pedagogies in her work at the University Museum of Contemporary Art, creating and co-facilitating the We Are For Freedoms Student Organizing Committee, designing public programs for community members, high school and college students, facilitating the Bright Moments Student Curation Committee and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Parker-Fairbain’s proudest achievement is in the creation of the Cyph Series, an African Diasporic arts experience supporting our capacities for imagining by reconnecting the campus to the profound artistry and revolutionary roots of the New Africa House and the W.E.B. DuBois Afro-American Studies Department.
Zach Steward is a junior Afro-American Studies and Legal Studies double major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is passionate about racial and social justice, and looks to go into politics, public policy, social work, advocacy or activism, and is hoping to do a joint master’s at the university in Public Policy and Afro-American Studies. His dream job is to work as the director of a nonprofit that serves inner-city youth and leads them away from stereotypical paths. He leads the Racial Justice Coalition, which has worked since the summer of 2020 to get the UMass administration to implement a list of demands that would make the campus socially and racially just. That work is ongoing, and he looks forward to continuing it in his senior year. He looks forward to continuing his studies with the department and to learn as much as he can.