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Scholarships application open for descendants of victims of Forsyth County racial cleansing

An 11Alive Reveal investigation in 2020 explored the history behind the expulsion of Forsyth County's Black residents in 1912.

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Applications are open for Forsyth County descendants whose families were victims of the racial cleansing campaign in 1912 that forced Black residents out of the county, keeping it virtually all-white for the next 75 years.

In 2020, an 11Alive Reveal investigation examined the history of the campaign, which began with the lynching of a Black man named Rob Edwards over the death of a white woman for which there was no evidence he had any part.

Throughout the racial cleansing campaign, more than a thousand Black residents were forced out of Forsyth County.

RELATED: Whitewashed: The racial cleansing of Forsyth County

The Forsyth Descendants Scholarship was established in 2022 by local church leaders who, according to the organization, want to recognize the injustice of what was done in 1912.

"This scholarship is not meant to be a repayment, a reckoning, or reparations but simply an act of love that will be helpful to some descendants whose families have suffered. Is it enough? Of course not," the scholarship website said. "But it is a step. This is an act of love for a few that we wish we could do for all."

The fund established a $10,000/year scholarship for a four-year scholarship for each recipient, with future amounts "contingent on the funds raised each year."

Those who want to apply must have been accepted into an accredited college or university, maintained a 2.5 GPA in high school, or received their GED.

The scholarship organizers also ask for proof of direct descendants from a family driven out of Forsyth County, such as "family tree diagram, birth certificates, 1910 census, etc."

"f you believe you are a descendant and need some help determining your family tree, there may be some assistance we can provide in your search," the website states. "Please reach out to us and share the information you have and we will contact you."

A written essay on "your family’s connection to Forsyth County, and your ancestors’ journey in the decades after their expulsion in 1912" is also required, as is a "description of the career path you are planning to pursue and how this scholarship will help."

The application period is open until April 30, 2023, and recipients will be chosen by June 15 for the fall 2023 semester.

For a more detailed overview of the application process, you can click here - and to apply; you can click here.

Those interested in donating to the scholarship fund can do so here.

Below, you can see 11Alive's coverage of a 1987 racial justice march in Forsyth County that was met by white residents chanting the N-word, throwing rocks, and carrying signs that read “Keep Forsyth White." 

Please note that it contains racist and profane language and imagery.

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