44th Annual Carter G. Woodson Essay Contest: 2021 Theme: “What Does Black Lives Matter Mean To Me?

The Black Lives Matter Movement was founded in 2013 by  Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullers and Opal Tometi in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.  The rallying cry intensified in 2014 when Michael Brown was killed by the police in Ferguson, MO.  During the summer of 2020, chants of “Black Lives Matter” were heard across the United States and in many countries of the world to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN., Breanna Taylor in Loisville, KY., and others across the United States.  The movement advocates and protests against incidents of police brutality and racially motivated violence against Black people.

Your essay may address some of these questions:  What do you think about the saying, “Black Lives Matter”? Have you or any persons that you know participated in any Black Lives Matter marches or protests?, What are some of the negatives and positives of Black Lives Matter?  Has Black Lives Matter changed anything in your school, neighborhood or city?  If so, what?

The essay is open to all students in grades 4-12 in Western New York.  Essays must be received by SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2021 at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue or EMAILED TO AAHANFWoodson@gmail.com.  Your NAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE #, SCHOOL, GRADE AND EMAIL Must be written on your essay.  No Handwritten essays will be accepted.

Essay judged on originality and content.

Cash prizes will be awarded in three categories:  Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12

FIRST PRIZE – $100         SECOND PRIZE – $75          THIRD PRIZE – $50


Winning entries will be presented at a Virtual African American History Program  with date TBA.

Winning essays will also be published in Historically Speaking, Spring 2021.

The Essay contest is sponsored by the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier with support from Buffalo & Erie County Public Library – Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch, Buffalo Public Schools – Dept. of Social Studies, Zawadi Books and others to be announced.