RACIAL JUSTICE ESSAY CONTEST

EDUCATE

Meaningful scholarship opportunity for 9th-12th grade students in Auburn, Opelika, and Lee County public high schools as well as 2022 graduates of public schools. 

All 9th-12th grade students of Auburn, Opelika, and Lee County public high schools in addition to 2022 graduates are eligible to submit an essay. Students are asked to examine the history of a specific racial injustice topic as well as its legacy today. Examples of topics include the creation of Lee County, racial terror lynchings in Lee County, the desegregation of Lee County City Schools, and more. Cash prizes will be awarded to all winners thanks to our partnership with NAACP Lee County AL Branch #5038. Click the sign up button below to get started!

ESSAY PROMPT AND SCORING RUBRIC

The 2022 essay prompt will be shared during the informational kick-off meetings and will be posted here on Thursday September 1st when the contest begins!

We'll also post a link to our essay scoring rubric so students will know more about how to structure and write their essays.

READY TO GET STARTED?

01

Click the Sign Up button above to get registered. Who is eligible to register?

  • All 9th-12th grade students attending a public school in Lee County in the 2022-2023 school year.

  • All 2022 graduates of public schools in Lee County.

  • We welcome 2021 essay contestants to re-enter the 2022 contest! However, a new essay on a new topic must be submitted.

02

Attend an informational kick-off meeting. Meetings are being held:

  • Thursday September 1 at 6pm (CST) at the Opelika Public Library, Meeting Room B

Missed the meetings? No worries! A recording of the zoom kick-off meeting will be posted in the Resources section below.

03

Review the Essay Prompt and Scoring Rubric above and begin exploring possible topics! Check out the resources below for ideas. Feel free to choose a topic not on this list too.

IMPORTANT 2022 CONTEST DATES

Monday
Aug 29

Kick-off Meeting on Zoom at 7p (CST)

 

Click Here to Join the Zoom Meeting

Thursday
Sep 1

Contest begins!

 

Another Kick-off Meeting at 6pm (CST) at Opelika Public Library.

Monday
Oct 10

Essay Submission Deadline.

Instructions for essay submission will be posted soon.

ThursDay
Nov 3

Contest winners announced at the Day of Remembrance Ceremony. More details to come!

ESSAY RESEARCH RESOURCES

Local History Panel Discussion

Ms. Selena Daniels, Mr. Wilbert Payne, Jr., Ms. Jean Madden and Mr. John Harris

To assist students research and understanding of local Lee County (and American) history, four Lee County residents shared their stories and experiences while growing up during integration in Lee County and advice they have for students today.

 

Click here to view highlights from this video.

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Reference Coordinator, Courtney Pinkard

Learn how to: 

  • Search the ADAH online catalogs to identify digitized documents, photographs and records for your topic area

  • Explore the ADAH Youtube channels to learn more about your research theme and topic

Links:

Research to Preserve African American Stories and Traditions 

Coordinator, Dr. Rob Bubb

Learn about: 

  • rPAAST's mission, research and research process 

  • How to search for digitized newspaper articles on newspapers.com and explore geneology sites like ancestry and family tree

Links:

2021 AWARD WINNERS

Our inaugural racial justice essay contest drew many inspiring submissions! We are grateful for every student who invested their time to research and more fully understand vitally important issues of racial justice. 8 essays were chosen as our 2021 award winners:

1st Place

Mary Ellen Lancaster

2nd Place

Caderria Thomas

 

3rd Place

Braxton Harris

 

4th Place

Jireh Ray

 

5th Place

Jahunna Neston

 

Honorable Mentions

Clara Ragan

Dayzjah Walton

Miles Hunt

2021 Essay Winners.jpg