The Douglass
Scholars Program

Presented by Fred Morsell
through Fremarjo Enterprises, Inc.
Fred Morsell
Photo by Arthur A. Murphy

To bring Douglass' message to young people Fremarjo Enterprises, Incorporated has created the innovative Douglass Scholars Program (DSP) for elementary through secondary schools. This program gives young people information and understanding which encourages them to draw on their personal resources to overcome the doubts, fears, and prejudices that contribute to the belief that they cannot fully participate in all of society's opportunities.
The Douglass Scholars Program has two main components:

  1. A dramatic presentation by Mr. Morsell of Frederick Douglass' life and philosophy.

  2. Classroom and workshop programs led by Mr. Morsell, exploring Douglass' principles of success through discussion and dramatic techniques.

The Program is offered in several formats of varying lengths. The most complete and effective format is the three day comprehensive program, because it provides the participants with the greatest opportunity to engage more fully with all 12 of the Douglass principles, and, in the process, to internalize his message into their own lives and decision-making. This program is designed for a selected group of approximately 30 student and 10 adults. The alternative half-day, one-day and two-day programs, though more limited in scope, provide an introduction to and application of the Douglass principles. Some participants may also take part in weekend training sessions which are focused on increasing individual skills in facilitating the teaching of the Douglass principles.

The objectives of the Douglass Scholars Program can best be achieved and the results most assured of longevity through the comprehensive three-day program. In this format, Mr. Morsell visits the school on three separate occasions over a period of approximately one month. This version of the program can also be planned to interrelate with other school programs to expand studentsí horizons and build skills and self-esteem, such as mentoring or service-learning programs.
Participants in this program will include approximately 30 students and 10 adults, selected to achieve a high level of diversity in race, ethnicity and gender. For all programs, the students should be chosen from across the spectrum of academic achievement. With the adult participants, the program seeks a balanced combination of educators, parents, and community members who have a particular interest in helping young people. The 40 participants should be selected in advance of the seminar based on their written response to "Why I Would Like to Be a Douglass Scholar."

Mr. Morsell offers one or two performances of Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass: His Life and Times (65 minute school version), for the entire school body, interested parents and community members, and the previously selected workshop participants. Lunch all three days is taken by the participants together as it is a time for greater interaction.

Following the morning performance (s), participants meet with Mr. Morsell for three hours.

  1. Workshop process and objectives are outlined and discussed.

  2. Participants agree to commit to follow workshop guidelines and remain as participants to the end of the process.

  3. Participants fill out a questionnaire assessing general attitudes, degree of motivation, and sense of self-worth around issues of identity and diversity. (Questionnaire is administered again at the end of the workshop to help determine individual progress and evaluate the effects of the program.)

  4. Participants are instructed on maintaining a journal in which they record their thoughts and experiences in the context of the 12 Douglass principles studied in the workshops.

  5. Participants are provided with portions of Frederick Douglass' Principles of Success, a book written by Mr. Morsell, which is the basic text for the Frederick Douglass Seminars on Race Relations and Gender Equity, including the Douglass Scholars Program.

  6. Mr. Morsell presents an overview of the 12 Douglass principles which is designed to elicit critical thinking by the participants about the connections between Douglassí life experiences and their own.

  7. The participants end the afternoon session of Day 1 by writing their first journal entry.

The second phase of the program is a full day of workshops scheduled to take place the following day. The format covers a number of dramatic techniques, such as role-playing, analysis, scenario writing and performing; the full day time frame allows the group to cover all 12 of the Douglass principles in depth, as well as to discuss more thoroughly the application of these principles to contemporary situations.

  1. The students and the adults may initially be separated into different groups to ensure that a satisfactory comfort level is achieved within each group.

  2. Student and adult groups are broken down into smaller groups of 4 to 5 persons each.

  3. Each small group works with two or three of the Douglass principles.

  4. Each group is given a scenario from the life of Frederick Douglass.

  5. Participants read through the scenario, define the positive value inherent within the Douglass experience, and analyze the principle in the context of parallels to their own everyday experiences.

  6. Participants write a contemporary scene using the positive Douglass principle as the solution to the problem their scene demonstrates.

Participants are required to ensure that the resolution of their scene allows all members of their group to experience a sense of affirmation and to be encouraged to increase their self-esteem and to extend respect to others. The dramatic techniques of scenario writing, improvisation, short speeches, and small-group presentations are the tools used by the participants.

Part One:
  1. Student and adult participants are brought together.

  2. Entire mixed group is subdivided into smaller groups of 6 to 8, with at least one adult and more students than adults in each group.

  3. Continuation of work on the remaining Douglass principles through discussion and dramatic techniques. This provides a greater benefit due to the greater interactive strength of a wide age and experience range.

  4. Part one of the afternoon session concludes with presentations to the entire group by the small groups of their short contemporary scenes. The presentations are designed to foster understanding and personal application of the principles by each of the participants.

Part Two:
Mr. Morsell explains that each small group of mixed students and adults will now brainstorm about ways in which they can teach the life of Frederick Douglass to other students, and carry the principles they have explored into other schools and areas of community life, in order to use the Douglass principles in practical ways that will benefit others. The participants agree to work together for the next month to create a program which will enable them, as a group, to apply Douglass' life and principles and teach them to others in the community.

  1. The groups discuss how to implement their respective projects, setting goals and timelines.

  2. Mr. Morsell guides the small groups in presenting their projects to the entire group for the purpose of eliciting positive critical feedback to ensure clarity and probability of achievement.

  3. Participants select a coordinator for the entire group. Mr. Morsell establishes a reporting procedure for the small groups to report to the coordinator regularly during the upcoming weeks, so that the projects remain focused and on target.

The final one-day phase of the Douglass Scholars Program is scheduled for approximately one month after Day 2.

  1. Participants report by group on the success of their project. They review their goals and methods of implementation and share their experiences. They may also voluntarily share what they have recorded in their journals. The participants are encouraged to be very imaginative in their reports and methods of presentation, which can include speeches, debates, audio/visual aids, short dramas, etc. The focus in these reports is to demonstrate how the Douglass Scholars Program has made a difference in their lives and outlooks.

  2. Participants again fill out the questionnaire that they filled out on Day 1 with an addendum to allow for their evaluation of the program.

  3. Mr. Morsell draws together the group experiences and summarizes the ways those experiences relate to the 12 Douglass principles and the underlying focus of the principles that belief, faith and trust in one's own self-worth is the basis for self-esteem and the according of respect to others.

Mr. Morsell meets with school administrators, faculty, and other workshop sponsors to share the participantsí responses and evaluations and to summarize the workshop experiences verbally; the written report is submitted within 30 days. It includes:

  1. project descriptions

  2. comparative results of the two questionnaires

  3. excerpts from journals (with permission)

  4. other indicators of the effect of the program on the participants.

The report is anticipated to demonstrate an increase in the subjective sense of self-worth of the participants, a greater understanding and respect toward others and an increased commitment to involvement in school and community activities. It becomes the basis for replication at other schools and institutions.

NOTE: The above components of the Comprehensive Douglass Scholars Program can be adapted to meet the scheduling needs of the school system.

  1. Mr. Morsell offers one performance of Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass (from 45 to 60 minutes in length) for the student body.

  2. Thirty minutes after the performance Mr. Morsell meets with a group of selected students (preferably no more than 30).

  3. The Douglass principles are presented in a discussion format.

  4. Students break into groups of 6 to 8 to work with two or three principles.

  5. They read through a short scenario from the life of Frederick Douglass.

  6. They discuss the lesson Douglass learned that led to development of the relevant principle in his life.

  7. They collaborate together and write a contemporary scene applying that lesson and principle, giving every participant an active part in the scene.

  8. Scene is presented to the entire group.

  9. Participants and Mr. Morsell summarize their understandings, experiences, and reactions to the workshop.

  10. This summary is written by Mr. Morsell within 15 days of the conclusion of the seminar for the school administration and other seminar sponsors, to provide a record of accomplishment, evaluation and replication.

  1. The morning session is the same as in the half-day program.

  2. The afternoon session is used to explore more of the Douglass principles, to discuss their applications and to provide a more in-depth experience to the 30 students who participated in the morning session. Alternative: Another group of 30 students can be selected to participate in the same workshop experience as the students in the morning session.

  3. The day ends with group discussion of what was experienced and learned, and the applicability and relevance to the participants.

  4. The final report is drafted by Mr. Morsell for the school and the sponsors, within 21 days of the conclusion of the seminar.

NOTE: In another alternative format for the half-day and one-day programs, Mr. Morsell offers either one or two performances of the Frederick Douglass play, which fits into the time frame of a regular school assembly. Following the performance(s), he visits with students in various contexts (classroom, lunchroom, drama group, multicultural club, etc.) to discuss Mr. Douglass' relevance for young people, his relation to his historical period and issues of equity, primarily with respect to race and gender. The half-day format would include one student discussion period, while the one-day format would include two.

This program format is a more intensive learning experience, with the added dimension of including both student and adult participants. The adults should include teachers, administrators, parents and key adults from the local community; their inclusion is to help create a mentoring environment for the students and to break down age barriers. (If schools desire, adults can also be included in the half-day and one-day programs.)

  1. Mr. Morsell performs "Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass: His Life and Times" (65 minute format).

  2. Thirty minutes after the performance, selected students and adults meet for a discussion of the Douglass principles. Lunch is taken by all participants together.

Participants break down into small groups of 6 to 8 to explore and apply the principles, utilizing the dramatic techniques described in the previous programs (role-playing of scenarios, small-group discussions, scenario writing, improvisation and performing).

Participants continue working with several more of the Douglass principles, although it is not expected that all 12 principles can be covered in this time frame.
Following lunch Mr. Morsell guides a full group discussion and a summarization of the applicability of the principles to the lives of the participants.
The two-day format allows greater flexibility and time for exploring each scenario, and ensures a deeper understanding of the principles; it can be conducted during two contiguous school days, or, if desirable, on a Friday and Saturday. Mr. Morsell drafts the workshop experience into a report for the school administration and other sponsors, within 21 days of the conclusion of the seminar.

NOTE: In an alternative format, Mr. Morsell offers two subsequent presentations of the one-day program, with 30 students in the morning and 30 in the afternoon for each of the two days, providing opportunity for as many as 120 students to benefit from the workshop.


Please contact Fremarjo Enterprises, Inc for a list of fees connected with the programs outlined on this page.

Fremarjo Enterprises, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporations, is the organizational base for the Frederick Douglass Seminars on Race Relations and Gender Equity, of which the Douglass Scholars Program is a component. To receive more information about the Douglass Scholars Program, other seminars, or performances, mail, fax, email, or call:
Fremarjo Enterprises, Inc.
P.O. Box 382
Emigrant, MT 59027
406-333-4145 Fax

All original material Copyright ©1997-2004 Fremarjo Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.