Annual GHS Essay Contest Focuses on Savannah in the Civil Rights Movement


WSAV Anchor Kim Gusby (left) and GHS President & CEO Dr. W. Todd Groce (right) with the 2007 Black History Month Essay and Public Speaking contest winner, Eleanor Marchant (center).
WSAV Anchor Kim Gusby (left) and GHS President & CEO Dr. W. Todd Groce (right) with the 2007 Black History Month Essay and Public Speaking contest winner, Eleanor Marchant (center).

The Georgia Historical Society announces the 2009 Black History Month Essay and Public Speaking Contest. Open to all local middle and high school students, the contest highlights topics in African-American history while allowing students to gain skills in historical research and public speaking. The 2009 contest is being held in community partnership with the Telfair Museum of Art, featuring Freedom’s March – a Frederick Baldwin photography exhibit documenting the civil rights movement in Savannah on display at the Jepson Center for the Arts September 24, 2008 -January 11, 2009.

Students are asked to submit a 500-word essay focusing on either a single personality associated with the civil rights movement in Savannah, or a specific aspect of the movement such as student involvement, school integration, or the role of local churches. Students are encouraged to visit the Freedom’s March exhibit at the Jepson Center for inspiration in creating these historical essays.

The contest is intended to encourage historical research and expose students to the rich local resources available on this subject. Essays should be the result of student research into African- American history through books, newspaper articles, oral histories taken by the students themselves, and other primary source materials. No essay should include more than two online sources.

A panel of judges made up of local academic and media representatives will read and score all essay submissions. Selected finalists will then be invited to deliver their essays before a separate panel of judges and a live audience at GHS’s Hodgson Hall on February 9, 2009. For the fourth year in a row, WSAV’s Kim Gusby will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place winners in both the middle and high school categories. A reception will follow.

Essays must be received at the Georgia Historical Society, 501 Whitaker Street, Savannah, Georgia, 31401, by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 22, 2009. Entries may be hand-delivered or mailed, but must be received by the deadline. Please note that this is not a post-mark deadline.

For more information and to obtain entry forms, please visit www.georgiahistory. com and follow the Black History Month Essay and Public Speaking Contest link, or contact Charlie Snyder at the Georgia Historical Society (651-2125 x.40 or csnyder@georgiahistory. com).

Sponsored by Southern LNG an El Paso company with additional support from AT&T and WSAV. In partnership with Telfair Museum of Art.

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