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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Participate in the Selma Speech & Essay Contest - submission deadline 1/30/15

Click here for details!

We want to get as many high school students involved as possible. Can you help us spread the word to your students and colleagues?

  • To participate, go to:
  • Grand prize: $5,000!
  • Timeline: December 25, 2014 - January 30, 2015.

The National Liberty Museum is delighted to announce we have partnered with Paramount Pictures to host the Selma Speech & Essay Contest in conjunction with the film Selma. Check out this powerful new film when it opens nationwide tomorrow to begin your contest submission.

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? What are you doing or will you do to peacefully advance those rights?"

Who can participate in the contest?

The 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 the 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, visit:

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.

Now it's time to use your words. Find out more at

The Selma Speech & Essay Contest is made possible through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and in-kind support of Paramount Pictures.