Calling all high school students: Martin Luther King, Jr. used his words to change history. How will you use yours? To participate, go to LibertyMuseumSelmaContest.org. Grand prize: $5,000! Contest timeline: December 25, 2014 – January 30, 2015.
Who Can Participate?
The National Liberty Museum’s Selma Speech & Essay Contest is open to US High School students ages 14-18 (as of the January 30 deadline), who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories. After viewing Paramount Pictures film SELMA, contestants will respond to the Contest topic with an original 500-700 word essay and videotaped speech reading of their essay. For rules: libertymuseumselmacontest.org/rules
It all started with a speech:
At the age of 15, a young Martin Luther King, Jr. entered a high school public speaking competition with his submission called, “The Negro and the Constitution.” He was in his junior year, and he won the competition. On the bus ride home, young King and his three companions were told to give up their seats to a white couple who had just boarded the bus, and they stood for several hours on their way back to Atlanta.
It has been widely written that the high school speech Dr. King wrote inspired his “I Have a Dream” oration, since all of the concepts in his competition submission were encapsulated into the historic 1963 speech. There are striking parallels between the two writings. That is the power of words.
Selma Speech & Essay Contest Topic:
“The movie Selma tells the story of how Martin Luther King, Jr. and others peacefully protested to advance voting rights. What do you think needs to be done today to protect individual freedom and self-determination (voting rights)? What are you doing or will you do to peacefully advance those rights?”
• One grand prize: $5,000
• First runner up: $2,500
• Second runner up: $1,000
• Seven honorable mentions: $500 each
• $300 cash prize for each teacher/mentor who sponsors a top 10 finalist
• December 25, 2014, 12:01am EST: Official Opening of Selma Contest & limited release of Selma film
• January 9, 2015: Wide release in theaters of Selma film
• January 30, 2015, 11:59pm EST : DEADLINE for submissions
• March 2015 Winners notified
• April 20-22, 2015 Award Ceremony held in Philadelphia, PA
The Selma Speech & Essay Contest is made possible through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and in-kind support of Paramount Pictures.