Furman expands scholarships for students from Edgefield, the High Hills of Santee, Winnsboro, and Greenville

From the Greenville Journal:

Furman University’s newest initiative — to acknowledge the role of slavery and racism in its history — shines a tarnished light on some of Felicia Furman’s ancestors.

But it’s a light Felicia Furman has been shining for years.

“Slavery has been in my family since before the Revolutionary War,” Felicia Furman said. “It’s very much a white story.”

Furman University announced Monday it will increase its Joseph A. Vaughn Scholarship for African American students from $164,000 in endowment funds to $1 million in total annual awards. The university added $3 million in endowment funds to ensure its continuation. Joseph A. Vaughn was the first black student to attend the university in 1965.

The decision comes after the school’s Task Force on Slavery and Justice released a report this summer on the university’s use of slaves through its early leadership. The report gave 19 recommendations intended to “reckon with the past, repair the harm, and create increasing justice in each generation.”

The report highlights a moral defense of slavery written by Richard Furman, the university’s namesake, in 1823, along with the pro-slavery ideology of his son, James C. Furman, who was also the school’s first president.

Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University, said expanding the Joseph Vaughn Scholarship was a recommendation the administration could immediately act on without board approval, although the board of trustees endorsed the decision.

The need-based scholarship has been around since 1999 and is directed at African American students from near one of the four communities Furman’s campus has been located historically — Edgefield, the High Hills of Santee, Winnsboro, and Greenville. Only 16 students have received the scholarship so far, and the increased amount will be available to serve more students starting in fall of 2019.

Read the rest of the article here at the Greenville Journal website.

For more information on the task force, visit the Task Force on Slavery and Justice website. Comments or questions may be directed to slavery.justice@furman.edu.

To Learn more about the Joseph A. Vaughn Scholarship, visit Furman’s website here.