Fellowship Program

Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center Fellowship Program

The MLKJFC Fellowship provides graduate and undergraduate students with direct integration in the study and practice of self-transformation through civic participation. Fellows will study nonviolence from a historical perspective; define its principles and strategies; and identify their applicability to modern times and movements, current issues, and everyday life. The pedagogy at the Freedom Center engages youth, fellows and staff in reflective study contributing to the strengthening of democracy.

See the video Changing Ourselves through Being Part of the Solution

In addition to learning key elements of emancipatory pedagogy, fellows advance skills in study and research, writing, public speaking and oratory, critical analysis, and conduct change. Fellows will have the opportunity to travel to Indian Reservations, the Black Belt of the south (the state of Alabama), and urban and rural regions of the west coast. In addition, fellows will have ample opportunity to develop relationships with diverse community leaders, Civil Rights luminaries, elected officials at the congressional and regional level, and with intergenerational, interracial activists.

Details about Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center’s 2024 Fellowship Program

This is a Fellowship in community-based organizing. The work requires discipline, focus and the capacity to give and receive critical feedback, essential to the development of a critical spirit.

The work that Fellows will carry out includes:

  • making phone calls
  • conducting family orientations and school visits
  • conducting meetings with school administrators and teachers
  • organizing civic engagement events
  • attending Saturday morning class (10:00am-12:30pm)
  • attending virtual classes with Dr. Clayborne Carson founder of Stanford University’s Dr. King Research and Education Institute, Monday’s (4:00-5:00pm)
  • provide transportation for high school aged youth and their families to the aforementioned events

The fellowship is a time-limited program for a minimum of three (3) months and a maximum of one (1) year for students.

To receive a stipend, fellowship students must complete 25 hours per week, a total of 300 hours per quarter, provide a monthly summary of their work experience, and attend at least two or more training sessions that are provided by the Freedom Center.

The fellowship includes a quarterly stipend of $6,000, contingent on submitting required documents and completing a quarterly session.

The fellowship includes a stipend of up to $12,000 in total for 2 consecutive sessions.

All sessions require a commitment to completion of the following time frame. Applicants may apply anytime during Summer or Fall Sessions.

1st Session: Summer – June 3 – August 30, 2024

2nd Session – Fall – September 23 – December 20, 2024

The sessions include residential weeks-long programming corresponding to school breaks.

Summer – The fellowship session includes a six-week (To Us You Matter Civic Engagement Tour). Fellows may participate in the summer civic engagement tour for 2 to 6 weeks. 

Fall – The fellowship session includes a three-day residential program (Days of Gratitude) during Thanksgiving break. This program reflects on the role of Tribal Sovereignty, myth-breaking the history of Thanksgiving, and studying the role of gratitude in our lives from a cultural perspective.

What is the process?

  1. Submit all required paperwork to info@mlkfreedomcenter.org – Attn: “Fellowship Program”, include what session(s) you are applying for in the subject line. (Example: “Session 1” (Summer) or “Session 2” (Fall)
  2. After your paperwork has been received, you will receive a confirmation email.
  3. Week One: We will send you an email to update you on the status of your application. This email will include the decision whether you will or will NOT move forward with the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center 2024 Fellowship Program.
  4. Week Two: If you are accepted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center 2024 Fellowship Program, you will be scheduled for a virtual interview.
  5. Week Three: An in-person interview will be scheduled at our headquarters on Merritt Campus in Oakland.
  6. Students offered and accepted of the Fellowship will be required to attend an information session in our offices at Merritt College in Oakland and asked to complete additional materials and undergo a background check before final acceptance into the fellowship.
  7. Students who accept the fellowship are encouraged to enroll in a class at your college campus each quarter of the 2024-2025 academic year, focused on community service, philosophy, public administration or public service, history (civil rights or Black history or ethnic studies), leadership, professional development and/or civic engagement.

Who should apply:

The Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center 2024 Fellowship provides learning opportunities for serious, mature students, with a passion for contributing to the Freedom Center’s mission of advancing self-transformation through civic participation. This involves study, journaling, research and organizing. Students of diverse heritage or cultures, a home language other than English or bilingual, students who have struggled to achieve their own academic achievements are encouraged to apply.


  • Interest and or passion for organizing, social change, and/or social or economic justice
  • Coursework, work experience with, or demonstrated interest in marginalized communities, people of color, low-income groups, immigrants, and youth.
  • Coursework in history, humanities, philosophy, public administration, community organizing, sociology, or related fields preferred
  • Students with bilingual ability are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Good judgment, hustle, hard-working, and resourcefulness (i.e., you are known for
    ‘getting it done.’)
  • An excellent sense of humor, ability to give and receive constructive criticism, inspired by the pursuit of discipline and hard work, and willingness to be part of a feisty, no-nonsense civil rights team.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Live in the Sacramento, Davis, San Jose or Oakland areas
  • Must be a graduate or undergraduate student from an accredited college, university, or
  • Must exhibit exceptional leadership and organizing potential
  • Must demonstrate an interest in and passion for Community Organizing and Nonviolence Practices
  • Must be able to participate in all trips, and fulfill all the educational requirements
  • If applicable, unofficial university or college transcript
  • Access to a car, with insurance and a driver’s license, the ability to drive to student homes and/or schools, and willingness to transport high school-aged youth a live scan is required

How to apply:

Submit the following…

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Brief writing sample (2-3 pages)
  • Your contact information
  • 2-3 professional references
  • Submit all required paperwork to info@mlkfreedomcenter.org – Attn: Fellowship Program, include what session(s) you are applying for in the subject line. (Example: “Session 1” (Summer) or “Session 2” (Fall)

Cover letter should address these three points:

  1. Why do you want to be a Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center Fellow, and how would participating in this fellowship help you achieve your goals?
  2. Describe any experience you have addressing the mission of the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center. This could include things such as coursework, volunteering, clubs, leadership, or work experiences.
  3. Do you have any additional skills, strengths, or attributes that you might offer this fellowship?

Frequently Asked Questions:

When will I hear about the selection if I am accepted?
We appreciate your patience as we review the incoming fellowship applications, conduct interviews and make final selections.

Notification of decision: Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center fellowship notifications are sent directly to applicants via the e-mail address that is on file. Offers will be accepted or declined. The first round of notifications will be e-mailed approximately two weeks after your fellowship deadline. Fellowship offers are made in multiple rounds. However, we will notify applicants that will NOT be moved forward in the process.

Are first-year students eligible to apply?

Yes, incoming first-year students can apply once you have enrolled in your college.

Does this fellowship provide college credit?

We will work with you and your college fellowship programs to ascertain eligibility for college credit. As colleges have different requirements and opportunities for for-credit fellowships, this will vary from college to college.

Will this impact my financial aid?

Each student’s financial aid package is different. We encourage you to connect with Financial Aid at your campus to make sure you understand how the paid aspect of this fellowship will impact your specific situation.

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