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.

 

Winners will be announced at the Day of Remembrance Ceremony on Saturday Nov. 5th 2022, 10a, on the Lee County Courthouse Square.

ESSAY PROMPT

A myth of Black inferiority and white supremacy was developed to justify slavery in the United States. Even though we ended chattel slavery, we did not end the myth of racial difference. The Equal Justice Initiative believes we need a new era of truth and justice that starts with confronting our history of racial injustice.

  • Based on the theme or topic and historical event you select, how does the history of racial injustice help to explain present-day injustice in our society?

  • How can this history be overcome in order to change the challenges our nation is facing today?

ESSAY SCORING CRITERIA & REQUIREMENTS

  • Topic Content - Depth of knowledge with evidence to support claims

  • Connection to Present - Impact on society/community today

  • Vision of Justice - Way to challenge injustice today

  • Organization and Clarity - Content organized clearly (all forms of language will be valued)

  • Voice - Engages the reader

  • Word Count - 800 - 1000 words

  • Reference Page - All essays must include a reference page listing title and URL of sources

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

Watch our informational kick-off session below.

03

Review the Essay Prompt and Scoring Criteria & Requirements 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.

Sunday
Oct 16

Essay Submission Deadline Extended!

Click the Submit Essay button above to submit your essay!

SATURDAY
NOV 5

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