The Martin Luther King, Jr., Reflection Competition is a collaboration between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) that asks students, staff, and faculty/administrators to reflect on Dr. King’s contributions to social justice, history, and Cleveland specifically. The 2018 MLK Reflection Competition seeks poetry, short stories, art, photography, music, and media as well as essays. Further information about the 2018 Competition guidelines and prompts can be found here.
Dr. King came to Cleveland several times throughout the 1960s and was scheduled to return just a few days before he was assassinated in 1968. While in Cleveland, he spoke at churches, high schools, and even street corners. His visit in 1967 in support of the mayoral run of Carl Stokes helped rally the vote, making Stokes the first African-American mayor of a major city in the US. Next year is the 50 year anniversary of that historical win. Dr. King’s connection to Cleveland goes even deeper, however. Before he was a national figure, Dr. King received the Anisfield-Wolf book award in 1959 for his book about the Montgomery Bus boycott, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. The Anisfield-Wolf book awards were started in 1935 by Cleveland philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf to honor the best books about fostering racial tolerance and understanding diversity. Now in their 81st year, the Anisfield-Wolf book awards, administered by the Cleveland Foundation, remain a vital Cleveland institution.
This year, the prompts for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reflection Competition focus on Dr. King’s connections to Cleveland, our continued battles for civil rights, and how to effect sustainable change through education in our communities. Two of the prompts come from speeches from Dr. King himself, while two others are quotes from Shirley Anita (St. Hill) Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress, and Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and the winner of 2017’s CWRU Inamori Ethics Prize.
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