Clementa C. Pinckney (EMANUELAMECHURCH.ORG)
Anonymous donors have created a $3.2 million scholarship fund in honor of Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who was killed along with eight members of his Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., by a White supremacist last July.
The Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program will be used to award scholarships and supportive services to college-bound African-American students in need. The fund will be administered by the Coastal Community Foundation based in Charleston, the group recently announced.
“I am pleased that students who might not otherwise have access to higher education or these kinds of supportive services will benefit from the funds raised in my husband’s memory,” said Jennifer Pinckney, Rev. Pinckney’s widow, in a statement. “Access to a quality education is essential in the fight for social justice. I have devoted my professional life to educational initiatives and I look forward to working with Coastal Community Foundation on this important project.”
The scholarships are expected to range from $5,000 to $10,000 annually and will be renewable for up to four years. About eight students will be selected in the inaugural year, and the Foundation anticipates that the program will expand.
Rev. Pinckey, who was also a state senator, was a well-known religious and civil rights leader both locally and nationally. Authorities say he and eight other members of his church were slain when suspect Dylann Roof, 21, waged a shooting rampage after sitting and participating in the church’s Wednesday night Bible study.
The heinous crime spawned nationwide efforts to remove divisive symbols such as the Confederate flags from public buildings and spaces and revived a call for improved race relations.