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Galveston Historical Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee and Old Central Cultural Center, Inc. will honor winners of their annual essay contest at 3 p.m., Sunday, January 14, 2018 at Old Central Cultural Center, 2627 Avenue M. The event is free and open to the public with a complimentary lunch.

“The messages and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. always carried the theme of peace and fairness worldwide,” explains contest organizer Ella Lewis. “This contest is meant to challenge students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. King in their own way. Dr. King was inspired by Gandhi’s message to be the change he wished to see in the world.”

Students wishing to enter are asked to write an original, 350-word essay on “Be The Change.” Submissions are due by Monday, January 8, 2018, at 3 p.m. and must be typed, double-spaced and contain a cover sheet with name, grade (grades 9 through 12 only), school, home address and telephone number. The contest is open to Galveston high school students only, including those homeschooled, and submissions can be emailed to education@galvestonhistory.org or mailed to the Old Central Cultural Center at P.O. Box 2111, Galveston, Texas 77553. First place will receive $300, second place $200, third place $100 and four honorable mentions will receive $50. Winners will read their essay at the award ceremony.

When the MLK essay contest was first conceived in 2000, the students’ assignment was to write a letter to Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow. For the five years previous to her death, the students wrote these letters and the committee organizers mailed them to Mrs. King. The year before her death, King sent this response to organizers Maggie and Ennis Williams: “Please tell your students to continue to read and study about my husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his life, and read books that he wrote. I hope they will grow to be like him and someday help those who need help. He gave his life loving and serving others.”

For more information, please contact Tommie Boudreaux at 409-740-0454, Ella Lewis at 409-740-4311 or Denise Alexander at 409-765-3410.

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