The Eugene Williams Scholarship Fund (EWS) was created to honor the memory of Eugene Williams, a 17-year-old African American from Chicago’s Southside whose death at the hands of a white assailant ignited the violence that came to be known as the 1919 Chicago Race Riot.
The failure of the Chicago police to arrest Williams’ killer resulted in growing racial tensions that exploded that night as gangs of white men and boys (the Ragen Colts and Hamburg Boys among the largest gangs involved) started attacking innocent Black people in their neighborhood which now is called Bronzeville. In 2020, a few months after George Floyd’s murder, a descendant of Frank Ragen, one of the main sponsors of the Ragen Colts, the largest gang involved in the 1919 Chicago Race Riots, made a major donation to the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project (CRR19), itself endorsed by GBCAC in 2019, on the eve of the centennial of Williams’s killing. The co-directors of CRR19 decided that this donation could do the most good by putting the money back into the hands of Black children who themselves are the metaphorical descendants of Eugene Williams
With the support and guidance of the Greater Bronzeville Community Action Council (GBCAC), the scholarship will provide financial assistance to young people in the Greater Bronzeville community who are navigating ongoing challenges rooted in Chicago’s complex history of racism and segregation. Prizes will be awarded to two students completing 8th grade and two graduating 12th graders. The awardees will be announced at the Greater Bronzeville Community Action Council’s annual student recognition ceremony.
To apply, please review the guidelines below – (Applications for the 2022 school year are now closed)