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History of the Kidd Tutorial

In 1991, with an endowment of over one million dollars from Walter and Nancy Kidd, Garrett Hongo (then Director of the Creative Writing Program) proposed creation of the Kidd Tutorials. The proposal modeled the program on the Watts Writers’ Workshop in Los Angeles, the Watson Foundation of Rhode Island, the Hopwood Lecture and Contests at the University of Michigan, and the Harvard Tutorials. A pilot program was begun that same year.

The Watts Writers’ Workshop was created through federal funding and by community leaders in Watts following the riots of 1965. Community leaders proposed the workshops as a way for the community to rebuild itself, and as an avenue to enhance and promote cultural life, raise morale, and provide education. The Workshop did a great deal for an emerging black literary consciousness and community and helped build the beginning of a tradition for young black artists. This kind of community as well as the focus and intensive scholarship that characterizes the Harvard Tutorials continues to inspire the Kidd Tutorials here at the University of Oregon.


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