ESSAY SUBJECT: What are the legacy and lessons of the Civil Rights Movement?
HOW TO QUALIFY: Must be currently enrolled as a high school junior or senior in the United States and submissions must be through a certified high school teacher
ESSAY LENGTH: No more than 1,000 words
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: January 9, 2010
DATE FOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS: The week of February 1, 2010
PRIZES: The winner and five finalists to receive cash awards and will be honored in a Capitol Hill awards ceremony in February featuring the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
SUBMISSION PROCESS: Submissions must be made by a certified high school teacher. Each high school teacher is responsible for selecting the best essay from their classes, and there can only be one submission per teacher.
JUDGING PROCESS: The top ten essays will be selected by educators from around the country and then submitted to a distinguished board of ten judges for the winning essay and five finalists to be chosen.
THE JUDGES: Muhammad Ali, three-time World Heavyweight Champion; India.Arie, singer/songwriter; Peggy Cooper Cafritz, founder of the Duke Ellington School of Art, Washington, D.C.; Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Dorothy Height, Chair/President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women; Bob Herbert, columnist for the New York Times; Chip Insinger, educator; Rep. John Lewis, Democrat from Georgia; Alma Powell, Board Chair of America’s Promise Alliance; Deborah Roberts, ABC News correspondent; Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spelman College.
GUIDELINES: The essays are to be based on current events, personal experiences, and the experiences of friends and relations and include fully cited references to at least two books (fiction and nonfiction) and at least three newspaper/magazine articles. Additional interdisciplinary sources (e.g., music, dance, and film) are encouraged. The essays should compare the experiences of the Civil Rights generation with those of today’s generation to illuminate the evolution of race relations in America and what this evolution teaches us about who we are as a people and a nation and how best to address racial disparity. The judges will be looking for clarity of ideas and for fresh insight into the American racial divide.
The Civil Rights Movement believed that we all benefit from a truly diverse society that supports equal opportunity. All students, from all races and ethnicities, are strongly encouraged to submit essays for this contest.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the Legacy Essay Contest is to encourage an appreciation among America’s youth for the relevance of history in understanding today’s challenges and to clarify the core principles and values of our democracy.
- National Education Association
- American Federation of Teachers
- ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)
- National Council of Teachers of English
- National Council for the Social Studies
- Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
- American Legacy Magazine
- Karz Productions