President Wright Unveils First Student Essay/Oratorical Contest for Black History Month

January 29, 2015

As part of President Wright’s Black History Month Celebration, the university has established its first Essay/Oratorical Contest with generous support from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The theme of the President’s Essay/Oratorical Contest is: “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture”.  Students wishing to participate must complete the online Registration and Intent to Participate Form by Tuesday, February  3, 2015.

The final essay must be submitted online by Friday, February 13, 2015 .

Judges will complete the preliminary evaluation of essays and finalists will be notified by Wednesday, February 18, 2015.  Winners will present their essays on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at the President’s Essay/Oratorical Contest, the culminating event for the 2015 Black History Month Celebration.

“This contest is designed to support the building of greater understanding and appreciation of the achievements and the challenges of African American life.   Additionally, students’ extensive reading, careful writing, and public presentation  associated with participating in the essay/oratorical contest supports the University’s objective of continually building greater intellectual capital among its students,” said PVAMU President George C. Wright.

Contest  Entry  Process

  1. By Tuesday, February 3, 2015, each student who wishes to enter the contest must have completed the online Registration and Intent to Participate Form .
  2. The final essay must be submitted online by Friday, February 13, 2015 .
  3. Judges will complete the preliminary evaluation of essays and finalists will be notified by Wednesday, February 18, 2015.
  4. Finalists will receive a scheduled appointment notice to meet with the program coordinators to prepare for the oratorical component of the contest which will occur on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at the President’s Annual Essay/Oratorical Contest.

Prizes for the contest are:

Win       $2,500

Show       $2,000

Place    $1,500

Spirit award amounts: to be determined

The Essay Topic 

The theme of the President’s Essay/Oratorical Contest and is:

“A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture”
Topic Context

The year 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the passage of the Thirteenth  Amendment to the United States Constitution that freed slaves in America.   The year also marks the 100th birthday of the late noted historian and public intellectual, Dr. John Hope Franklin who  authored the classical work on race, From Slavery to Freedom.  Since slaves were freed from chattal bondage, African Americans have sought full equality.   Current statistical data shed light on the status of African Americans in areas including, but not limited to, their place in  the criminal justice system, employment, educational opportunity, political empowerment, athletics, entertainment, and  economic status.  There is much controversy about the extent to which change has occurred in racial progress over the past century.  Essay writers are encouraged to think critically about the topic, “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture” and to assess whether there has been notable progress toward the achievement of full equality for former slaves.  Writers are to support their position that there has been or that there has not been substantive achievement of progress.  For each position the writer is expected to present a plan of action for achieving a more just and equitable society in which the rights and privileges of African American are respected and protected.  As noted elsewhere in these guidelines, the essay must not exceed three double spaced type written pages.  The writer must be sure to properly cite sources used.