Virginia has created a scholarship program to give African American adults from Prince Edward County something they were denied as children: public education
She is by no means alone in her effort. In the fall of 2005, Virginia began issuing academic scholarships to repair even a small portion of the harm done to at least 2,000 African American schoolchildren who suffered a particularly acute form of deprivation during the hard-fought transition to integrated schooling. The fund, known as the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program, is an attempt to atone for the damage that Prince Edward -- with profound complicity from the state itself -- inflicted upon its most vulnerable citizens. The program pays the costs of a GED program or high school diploma for those who found jobs during the closings and may never have returned to school at all; it also pays for community college or an undergraduate or master's degree, up to $7,200 a year.
"It's difficult to start your life over when you are 58 years old, but we are never too old to learn and be filled with knowledge and wonder," says Ken Woodley, 49, editor of the Farmville Herald and the chief architect of the plan."There are people who see it as an opportunity to get a better job or go into business for themselves. I really believe that if someone discovers one author, one painter, their lives are enriched, and they are able to experience more of what life has to offer."
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