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Class of 2020 Program


The 2020–2022 Class of William C. Friday Fellows will use stories and objects to question, examine, and transform the places we inherit and inhabit in the world. Words and things alike will become pathways for question-framing, relationship-building, and world-shifting.

Engaging the stories they inherit and love to tell, sharing objects that bring worlds to life, and moving through places across the state, the 2020–2022 Class of Friday Fellows will draw on their innate gifts and capabilities to become more human(e) leaders. The combination of stories, objects, and places—disappeared and remembered, experienced and forgotten, beloved and haunted—will also invite Fellows to consider the power dynamics and systems that govern lives, communities, and worlds.

Working with storytellers, artists, musicians, and makers with deep connections to places and communities across the state, the 2020–2022 Class of Friday Fellows will take up their own histories and birthright inheritances as they engage one another. Brave words and sacred objects will help Fellows imagine and embrace new pathways to build and sustain relationships across lines of difference.

To grow leadership capacities, Fellows will practice being present to one another, holding space for deep learning and collective transformation. Together, Fellows will: 

Tell and hear stories.
Remember, make, and share things.
Journey alone and in community.

Lead faculty Meredith Doster (Friday Fellowship Class 2017–2019) is collaborating with a team of faculty, facilitators, and mentors who will join the 2020–2022 class on its journey.  Dr. JoJo Ledgister of Fearless Dialogues is engaged in deep thought work and collaborative design of the fellowship's arc and framing. North Carolina historian Dr. Darin Waters will be a core faculty member across the six seminars. More details on these faculty and additional collaborators will follow at the pace of relationship. Together, this growing team of friends and colleagues is imagining and creating space for the deep-digging and difference-spanning at the core of the fellowship.


Books can be important conveyors of stories and journeys, of wisdom and tradition, and of facts and fictions alike. They can remind us of the familiar while opening the door to people, places, and things beyond our experience or imagination. The words of others can sometimes lift up truths we are not yet able to see or hear clearly on our own. Often, words challenge even as they uplift. When we take seriously a book’s invitation to step into someone else’s world, it helps us to see more clearly the boundaries of our own believing and knowing. We read, then, for the expansion of our worlds, for pleasure, and for learning that turns us, page by page.

The following six summer reading books give voice to the lived experience of different North Carolina people and places.



What might a Madison County chronicler (Amberg) and modern-day prophet (Barber) with roots in Washington County share in common? What can we learn from a life lived in an iron lung (Mason) and North Carolina foodways that nourish and sustain (Eubanks)? How might poets from a disappeared place (Creasy, ed.) respond to the call to decolonize the way we conceptualize and spend our resources (Villanueva)?

This is a powerful moment to be reading about the (im)possibility of breath itself and the politics of progress measured in roadways, coalitions, and philanthropists awakened to a different metric of flourishing. Of course, curation is always incomplete and never impartial. Reading and learning are not neutral activities. Will you join the incoming class in looking for what is here and who is not? What do these texts offer and what remains to be said?

When we read with awareness, we honor the world-making capacity of words, including our own. In MisReading America: Scriptures and Difference, theologian Vincent Wimbush describes reading as a practice of both resistance and liberation. Looking for the place from which a given text speaks —and recognizing the power differentials that amplify some voices and truths over others —transforms reading into a practice of conscientization. Reading with intention also invites humility. When we read with generosity, we can find our way to a fuller understanding of our own life and world. When we read between the lines – and across these six texts – we hold space for new insights and welcome unimagined possibilities.

You can access a detailed reading and resource guide for the six texts by clicking here.



Seminar weekends balance engagement between Fellows with opportunity for reflection and pause. Taking full advantage of both time and place, fellowship weekends invite Fellows to think deeply about how and where they invest resources and spend energy.

Each fellowship weekend will include a combination of practices, dialogues, and teachings. Based loosely on monastic schedules that call people to themselves, to place, and to wonder throughout the day, seminar weekends will use time intentionally to transport Fellows to places and postures that invite transformation.

Seminar I: October 1–4, 2020
Combined virtual and regional in-person convening

Seminar II: March 11–14, 2021
Camp Rockfish
226 Camp Rockfish Rd.
Parkton, NC 28371

Seminar III: July 22–25, 2021
Trinity Center
618 Salter Path Rd.
Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512

Seminar IV: October 21–24, 2021
Wildacres Retreat
1565 Wild Acres Rd.
Little Switzerland, NC 28749

Seminar V: January 27–31, 2022
Eastern 4-H Center
100 N. Clover Way
Columbia, NC 27925

Seminar VI: May 19–22, 2022
Wildacres Retreat
1565 Wild Acres Rd.
Little Switzerland, NC 28749

Wildacres Leadership Initiative is connected with Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, NC.