Cobb NAACP accepting applications for Deane Bonner scholarship

Mar. 12—The Cobb County NAACP is looking for qualified students to apply for the Deane Thompson Bonner Empowerment Scholarship.

The scholarships — $1,000 each — are awarded each year to "graduating high school seniors who display signs of commitment to public service and community engagement," according to the application. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 24.

Eight individuals will be awarded scholarships this year, but that number may go up or down depending on how much money is donated, NAACP Vice President Mattie Small said.

"The scholarship honors the legacy of Deane Thompson Bonner's leadership and commitment to social justice," Small said. "Bonner's mission of giving a voice to the marginalized, and her emphasis on the importance of education, is embodied in this scholarship. Providing assistance to the next generation of leaders is a good way to honor her."

Deane Bonner is president emeritus of the Cobb County NAACP. Bonner became president in 1997 and served in the position for 20 years, creating numerous community-based programs and leading the way as the face of civil rights in Cobb County.

Before marrying Jesse Bonner, a military man, in 1956 and traveling around the world living on various military bases, she grew up attending segregated schools in Weirton, West Virginia. Bonner's teachers inspired her to be the best she could, instilling in her a strong love for education. Bonner quickly left her hometown because she knew she needed to leave in order to find better jobs.

After meeting her husband and living with him in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Bonner became an active leader in the noncommissioned officer wives' club, honing her leadership skills. The military eventually brought her to Marietta in 1971 with her two young children, Jesse and Jeriene.

Soon after her arrival, Bonner joined the Cobb County NAACP and became involved in numerous organizations including Ladies of Essence, Church Women United in Cobb County, Congressional Black Caucus, National Women's Political Conference and others.

Bonner continues to be a leader in her community and strong advocate for education.

"Education is key," Bonner said in a recent interview. "It is the most important thing."

The scholarship application can be found on the Cobb NAACP website at