Art and Essay Contest

Each year a topic concerning human rights is chosen with grade-specific contest parameters.  The information below is provided for the 2019 contest.

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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. ART AND ESSAY CONTEST: 2018-19
Sponsored by the Latah County Human Rights Task Force

Throughout his life Martin Luther King, Jr. strove for economic justice and an end to poverty. In the last year of his life he promoted a Poor Peoples’ March to bring attention to the condition of those who lacked life’s basic needs and to suggest ways for us to improve their economic welfare. This year, our essay and art contest draws attention to this aspect of King’s work.

Elementary Grades Contest Prompts
Grades 1-3 and Grades 4-5
Grade 5 May do either topic #1 or #2

#1: Essay Prompt: Martin Luther King, Jr. asked us to share what we have so that all may have enough. Write a letter to your classmates, urging them to share. Think about your own experience with sharing to show why sharing may be hard, but is good for everyone.
NOTE TO TEACHERS: If your class has worked on the virtues project, you can also have students link sharing with the virtues of generosity and service in their letters.

Art Prompt: Draw a picture or create a poster, collage or a mural showing how people share.

Middle School Contest Prompts: Grades 6-8

#2 Essay Prompt: Research a local organization that helps people in need, such as the Moscow Food Bank, Sojourners Alliance, CHAS (Latah Community Health,) Family Promise, Habitat for Humanity, Backyard Harvest, and First Book. Find out about one of these groups through a website. After doing your research, write a letter that could be sent to a newspaper explaining the work of this organization and why the organization is worthy of support.
NOTE TO TEACHERS: It might be useful to have a representative of one or more of these groups visit your class or school, or have a student interview someone from one of these groups.

Art Prompt: Create an art piece (poster, drawing, collage or mural,) showing how a community organization helps people in our area.

Essay and art will be due by 4 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 15, but may be submitted anytime before that. Students may submit work through a classroom teacher or individually. Contest winners will be honored at the annual M.L. King Day Breakfast, Jan. 19 and receive a $25 gift certificate to Bookpeople. For more information and to have essays picked up, contact Walter Hesford (208-882-4599; hesford@uidaho.edu) or mail to Latah County Human Rights Task Force, Box 8613, Moscow, ID

High School Grades Prompts

Throughout his life Martin Luther King, Jr. strove for economic justice and an end to poverty. In the last year of his life he promoted a Poor Peoples’ March to bring attention to the condition of those who lacked life’s basic needs and to suggest ways for us to improve their economic welfare. This year, our essay and art contest draws attention to this aspect of King’s work.

Essay Prompt: (Essays should be 500-600 words on one of the following topics.)

1) In his last work, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age….. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty….The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by…the guaranteed national income.”

In your essay, first discuss Dr, King’s solution to the problem of poverty, then offer your own solution, which may or may not be the same as King’s.

2) In “Where Do We Go from Here,” Dr King wrote, “The time has come for an all-out war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled and feed the unfed. The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our society, because we have allowed them to become invisible. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation.”

In your essay first analyze what Dr. King saw as the way to fight global poverty in 1967-68, then present what you see as the way to fight global poverty now.

Art Prompt: Create a work of art or write a poem that illustrates the struggle to end or alleviate poverty. You might focus on the work of a specific local, national, or global non-profit organization that is involved in this struggle.

Essay and art will be due by 4 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 15, but may be submitted anytime before that. Students may submit work through a classroom teacher or individually. Contest winners will be honored at the annual M.L. King Day Breakfast, Jan. 19 and receive a $25 gift certificate to Bookpeople. For more information and to have essays picked up, contact Walter Hesford (208-882-4599; hesford@uidaho.edu) or mail to Latah County Human Rights Task Force, Box 8613, Moscow, ID 83843