February Literacy Contest

Black History Month

Civil Rights

2016 brings the 150th anniversary of the first Civil Rights Bill which was passed by Congress in 1866 after their two-thirds vote overrode President Johnson's original veto of the bill. President Johnson wanted a rapid restructuring of the US following the conclusion of the Civil War (which meant the continuing oppression of African Americans), and he was opposed to the radical restructuring that would take place with the passing of this Bill (giving rights to all African Americans). Despite the passing of the Bill, African Americans continued to be oppressed, enslaved, and discriminated against. So-called "Black Codes" limited their rights, race riots and mass killings were common, and governmental corruption (think carpetbaggers and scalawags) interfered with their advancement.


Below is a video further explaining this.

Source: "Reconstruction and 1876." Episode #22. Crash Course US History. CrashCourse, 8 July 2013. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nowsS7pMApI>.

Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22

The Prompt

Despite the passing of 150 years since the first Civil Rights Bill, African Americans continue to fight for equality and acceptance in American society. For this month's contest, choose ONE current issue faced by African Americans to write about. Include some historical background, examples, and details to explain the issue, its importance in today's society, and what you think can be done about it.

The Guidelines

  • Include a cover page with your name, grade, and program.
  • Your entry should be be at least one full page, but no more than two pages.
  • Provide a brief history of the issue, examples, and details to explain the issue.
  • Explain why this issue is important within today's society.
  • Explain what you think can/should be done to correct the issue.
  • If you cite sources (not required), include a works cited page in MLA format.
  • Submit your entry via Google Drive (share it with Laura.Henning@tctchome.com) by Friday, February 26.

The Judging Criteria

  • Provides an explanation of the issue, its importance in today's society, and what can be done to correct it
  • Quality of writing style and conventions
  • Use of descriptive language
  • Meets length requirement
  • Inclusion of a properly formatted works cited page (if needed)
  • Inclusion of a cover page that includes your name, grade, and program

The Winners

  • The Literacy Committee will vote on one grand prize winner and up to 10 runners-up.
  • The grand prize winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card (to be picked up in the media center on Wednesday, January 20).
  • The runners-up will receive either pizza or milk shakes (to be decided by the committee).
  • The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 1.
Background image attribution: "Freedman bureau harpers cartoon" by Waud, Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891, artist. - http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c05555 Harper's weekly, 1868 July 25, p. 473.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Freedman_bureau_harpers_cartoon.jpg#/media/File:Freedman_bureau_harpers_cartoon.jpg