Friday, March 21, 2008
Jurnee Creates Scholarship Fund
Jurnee Smollett, co-star of “The Great Debaters,” announced her intentions of working with Wiley College officials to establish a $2 million scholarship fund in honor of Henrietta Bell Wells, the woman behind her “Great Debaters” character, and her mother Janet Smollett, a civil rights activist and humanitarian, Saturday evening. Ms. Smollett vowed that the scholarship fund would “put young girls through college” and help diminish the negative stereotypes and images of black women as depicted by the media, which she feels are sensationalized. She also said the scholarship fund could possibly enable more African-American women to envision greater opportunities outside of what’s usually cast to them.
"I'm told I'm a statistic," said Ms. Smollett, in a passionate address to the packed audience in the center. "I'm told that my young black sisters are disease-ridden...but we are greater than what society tells us we are."