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Applications are now open for this scholarship for descendants of Black families driven out of Forsyth in 1912
Photo courtesy of Lagos Techie on Unsplash.

Local organizers recently announced the African American Descendants of Forsyth Scholarship is now open to applicants for the 2023-24 school year.

The up to $10,000, four-year scholarships are open to college-age descendants of Black families driven out of Forsyth County in 1912 by a mob of angry White residents.

To qualify for the scholarship, descendants must also have a minimum 2.5 GPA and write an essay about the journey of their family following their expulsion from the county.

A group of local church leaders started the scholarship in February last year as a way to acknowledge the county’s uncomfortable history and honor those families driven out of Forsyth by giving their descendants an opportunity to attend college without significant financial burden.

“While no one alive today was part of the racial expulsion in 1912, we all have a role in helping the next generation,” scholarship organizers wrote in a press release.

Thanks to community donors, organizers were able to award nine scholarships last year. The recipients and their families were honored during an event at Browns Bridge Church where several shared their ancestors' stories with the crowd.

Scholarship organizers said many of the recipients have since found success in school, connecting with mentors from their fields of study and attending seminars with The Place of Forsyth to learn interviewing and job acquisition skills.

Napoleon Foster, a scholarship committee member, said he has also seen a lot of change in the community as more try to remember Forsyth’s history.

“So much has been done to acknowledge the sins of the past,” Foster said. “A marker has been placed in front of the courthouse; Leadership Forsyth has done an amazing job restoring the Tolbert Street Cemetery, a Black cemetery that had become overgrown and hidden; and the newest school in the county, New Hope Elementary School, is named after a Black school from the early 1900s that was destroyed.”

Durwood Snead, a retired pastor and one of the founders of the scholarship, agreed with this sentiment, explaining how excited he is to see how much Forsyth has grown over the years.

“Forsyth County, where so much dark history took place and the place that Oprah Winfrey called the most racist county in America, has become a diverse, thriving community where everyone is welcome and love abounds,” Snead said. “We still have a way to go, but God is doing some exciting things here and we hope this can be a model for other communities.”

To keep the momentum going, however, Snead and his team said they need help from the community.

Organizers have enough funding for three to four new scholarships along with the seven recipients from last year who are still in school, but they want to be able to fund 10 new recipients for the 2023-24 year.

“To do this, we need to raise an additional $80,000 by May 1, and we hope both businesses and individuals will get on board to help,” Snead said.

Those interested can donate through the National Christian Foundation or directly to the Forsyth Descendants Foundation by visiting