2021 David C. Smith Memorial Book Scholarship – Call for Applications

2021 David C. Smith Memorial Book Scholarship – Call for Applications
David Cornelius Smith was a 28-year-old black man who died of mechanical asphyxia following an encounter with officers from the Minneapolis Police Department on September 9, 2010. Born in Peoria, Illinois, David moved to the Twin Cities to attend Job Corps in his late teens and remained in the area following his graduation for what he perceived to be enhanced career opportunities. He embraced his love of art and acting and eventually began attending Minneapolis Community & Technical College, where he took classes in business and political science. Prior to his untimely death, David was working hard to build a rich life out of difficult circumstances.
The Black Midwest Initiative is honored to present, in partnership with David’s family, the inaugural David C. Smith Memorial Book Scholarship which, in this first iteration, will award two $500 scholarships that are designed to help community college students purchase their course books and supplies. We especially encourage applications from students of African descent and students who, like David, have faced challenging circumstances but see both the arts and secondary education as mechanisms for socioeconomic advancement.
Key Dates

  • Submission deadline: May 30, 2021
  • Notification of results: June 30, 2021


  • Must be enrolled or planning to enroll full time in an accredited nonprofit community college located in the Midwest or larger U.S. industrial sector for the 2021-22 academic year. Eligible locations include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Upstate New York, and western Pennsylvania.
  • Members of the Black Midwest Initiative Council and their immediate family members are ineligible.

Application Requirements

  • A completed scholarship application form.
  • A personal statement of up to 500 words describing your background, educational interests, career goals, and demonstrated commitment to social justice on behalf of black people and black communities.
  • Name of one reference who can speak to your abilities and experiences as a student (at this point we are not requesting a letter—just the name is required).

Application Guidelines

  • Selected scholarship recipients will be required to submit proof of full-time course registration before funds will be disbursed.
  • Selected scholarship recipients agree to be profiled on the BMI website and associated platforms.
  • Formal letters of reference are not required, but a named referee may be contacted to supply an informal reference via email or phone depending upon the needs of the competition.
  • Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.

To learn more about the life of David C. Smith and the Black Midwest Initiative, or to donate, visit theblackmidwest.com/scholarship.
Questions about the scholarship should be directed to theblackmidwest@gmail.com.  

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