France selects Louisville resident as top recipient for prestigious fellowship

JANS – Louis­ville, MS, resident Reginald “Reggie” Patterson is the only American to be awarded a 2013-2014 graduate writing fellowship from the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, France. The other two recipients are from the region. Patterson is a Romance Studies doctoral student at Duke University. He is the son of Elmetra Patterson and Eddie Littleton.
“My feet have not touched the ground since I found out I won,” Reggie said.  He was one of hundreds from around the world who applied for this fellowship and was shocked that he made the first round as one of the 75 finalists. After that announcement, he had to wait several months before the three winners were announced in July.  His feet left the ground when he saw on the internet that he was chosen as #1 of the 75 finalists.
Reggie’s winning the Quai Branly Fellowship should be an inspiration for all students. It’s surely a dream come true for him, and with good reason. An early age he was diagnosed with ADHD and was told he couldn’t learn because he couldn’t be still. “Well, it looks like he can’t be still because he has been traveling the world with his gifts for music and languages since 6th grade, and he is definitely learning,” his mother said.
Family support has helped Reggie meet challenges head on. He says he owes much of his success to his 94-year-old grandmother, Betsy Ann Eichelberger, who encouraged him to be a trailblazer and accept admissions to Duke University, Durham, NC. He was hesitant because of the lack of diversity among the staff and students in the Francophone Department.  He was accepted at various other great colleges and universities and actually wanted to attend Northwestern University but listened to her.
reggie in berlinListening to reason does have its rewards. Reggie is the first to receive this Quai Branly fellowship as an Oberlin College/Conservatory undergraduate and Duke University graduate student. He is also the first to receive this fellowship with a major in Romance Studies.  Most of the previous winners have been Anthropology and Archaeology students.
The highly-talented student has received numerous awards, fellowships and scholarships. However, this latest feat was most competitive and it raises the bar for his career as a professor, researcher and writer.
This award will give him the opportunity to complete his dissertation at the museum with a generous monthly stipend.  He will be integrated into the activities of the team of the Department of Research and Education with his own office and website. Reggie will be living there from October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014.  However, he will return to the U.S. to receive his doctorate degree from Duke University on May 11, 2014.
Reggie is an accomplished violinist and violist with a BM from the Oberlin Conservatory.  His dream is to perform violin concertos by composer/violinist, Boulogne Chevalier De Saint Georges while at the Musée du Quai Branly.
Reggie is passionate about teaching the history of this 18th century Afro Frenchman who was a composer, violinist, fencer, dancer and colonel in the French Revolution. Other than a biography, The Chevalier De Saint Georges Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow by Gabriel Banat, there is little mention of him in the history books. He is known as the Black Mozart when in actuality Mozart was more of a student of Saint Georges’. Reggie performed and lectured in a three-day event at Duke University The Knights Blues in honor of Saint Georges in April 2011.  He presented a mini version of the event at the Berlin Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Germany, February 2012.
The Musée du Quai Branly is the newest museum in Paris.  It is located in the heart of Paris’s museum land, neighboring the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, a few minutes from the Grand and Petit Palais, the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris. The Musée du Quai Branly has an exceptional location on the banks of the River Seine, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The arts of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas now form part of the historical and artistic grand tour of the capital with over 3,500 exhibited. The Musée du Quai Branly is an innovative cultural institution – museum, educational and research centre, and public living space all in one. Built on one of the last available sites in the heart of Paris, the architectural design of this original project is the work of Jean Nouvel.