Throughout the month of February, you've seen writing samples from various players as part of the Inaugural Atlanta Falcons Black History Month Writing Contest.
This contest encouraged students all over the state of Georgia from the ages 13-18 to write a poem or essay answering one of the three prompted questions.
The Falcons have selected the winners from each age group with great thanks to all who participated.
Congratulations to Lindsey George, who is our first place winner of the 13-15 age group. Lindsey attends Bennett's Mill Middle School in Fayetteville, GA. Lindsey's winning piece is a poem describing the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. if he were still alive.
See below to view George's poem:
Our life today is far from ok
But what would Martin Luther King Jr. probably say
He'd say that his work has come a long way
But 'the world' of yesterday still exists today
As segregation was never apart of God's creation
To separate people all across the nation
There were troubling times that tested our values and beliefs
So many people of all races filled with only despair and desperation
Some did nothing and left those to suffer in their own grief
While many more took to marching and protest to end segregation
In one voice they stood united and their message was strong
A person's skin color, a deciding factor, was immoral and just wrong
To live in a nation without possibilities and hope
Generations would be lost, shaking our very foundation and unable to cope
When to sit and when to stand
When to look away or when to shake a hand
When to speak and when to close your mouth
Was this happening everywhere or confined to the ¨Good Ol' South¨
When to cry and when to sing
The powers that be had made a mess of things
The blacks didn't have any special education
They were all filled with despair and frustration
Until a young girl named Ruby Bridges stunned the nation
Attending an all-white school in isolation
The first to dare to be different and not go along with the status quo
Challenging our educational system ignited a nation and the flame to grow
This movement was monumental; however, change too slow
The great Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision, one nation for all
Riots and civil unrest. The government had to listen or our mighty nation would fall
Rosa Parks took a stand if only to sit for a while
Her act of courage was met with cruelty, her defiance punished and her treatment vile
Both the young and the old had to pick and choose a side
Would they stand for justice and equality or would they bury their heads and run and hide
The injustices of every man, woman, and child did the righteous come to bare
While hardened hearts looked on without shedding a single tear
The march on Washington was a major expedition that left mental and physical scars, some good and bad condition
Many had doubts and unfounded superstitions
Many more had faith and hope that helped them push on and carry out the mission
The speech ¨I Had a Dream" ignited a major spark
That brought our great nation out of the dark
It is these trails and accomplishments throughout history that we should never forget
Our past is our present and our future not set
We must challenge the wrong and stand against everything unjust
Speaking up and speaking out for equality is paramount, an absolute must
I feel a sense of obligation to make this world a better place to live
A responsibility to know my heritage, I to want to make a contribution and want to give
To honor those before me like Martin Luther King Jr., in my actions, what I do and say
How I treat others in my journey every step of the way
I must be destined for great things as we both share the same birthday
I am up for the challenge, so move over hatred you ¨must listen¨ to what I have to say
Congratulations to Efua Afedize, who is the first place winner of the 16-18 age group. Efua attends Campbell High School in Smyrna, GA.
Efua attends Campbell High School in Smyrna, GA. Efua's winning piece is an essay about the historical figure W.E.B Du Bois and why he is their most admired African American figure.
See below for Afredize's essay:
One way or the other, we are all influenced by a certain thing or person. When I think of influential historical African Americans, W.E.B. Du Bois comes to mind. To be influential is to be prominent in the dispersion of knowledge and guidance in order to aid a group of people and Du Bois did just that. Mostly known for his opposition of Booker T. Washington's "Atlanta Compromise," William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was essential in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which had a tremendous impact on the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. Du Bois' extensive repertoire in education as well as his role in the fight for equality makes him an influential figure to me.
Du Bois once said "Ignorance is a cure for nothing" –a statement that definitely challenged those who sat by and chose to ignore the issue-which resonated throughout the South. He was an activist who fought for African American liberation not only in the continent of North America but also in Africa. His influence spanned through the world as he attended Harvard and went on to study in Germany where he was introduced to different philosophical ideas. The knowledge he gained from his studies was detrimental in his role in the establishment of the NAACP in 1909. The NAACP was an impactful organization that had a protruding part in bringing awareness to racial equality. Du Bois' outstanding wit of educating whites on the issue of racial equality was significant as his actions were a key component in African American history. I view him as a significant figure because he was not afraid to call attention to important issues that needed to be discussed. How different would the workforce look today without his role?
Du Bois' detrimental role in African American history did not end there with his involvement in the Civil Rights battle. He also fought for the liberation of African Colonies from European counterparts in a movement known as Pan-Africanism. His fight not only for equality in the United States of America but also Africa served to display his characteristic means of granting equality to any oppressed person of color no matter their location or language. The fight for racial equality would not have been the same without Du Bois' determination. His quest for knowledge made him a force to be reckoned with as he pursued activism and also taught as a professor at Atlanta University in order to spread his views. He is influential to me because he was someone that valued education and strove for it to be awarded to African Americans too and not restricted to just one race.
His travels and extensive studies in Europe allowed him to discuss racial equality in a global world, thus heeding attention to the subject. As an activist, W.E.B. Du Bois stands as an important African American figure for he aided and transgressed in the pursuit for Racial Equality. His role as an activist as well as a leader in the challenging of Booker T. Washington's "Atlanta Compromise" showcased his fight for African Americans to have an education that surpassed that of a traditional vocational school, but rather to strive for education that led them to Politics and high-ranking positions.
Although not widely recognized, W.E.B. Du Bois is the most influential historical African American figure to me because he fought for racial equality as well as the right for African Americans to receive higher tiers of education that ranged from vocational schools to universities. As a High School Senior, Du Bois' fight for equal educational rights makes him an important figure to me because he valued the need for education in order to survive in this world. His stance on widening one's horizon through their education was crucial in the Civil Rights Movement as well as his involvement in the creation of the NAACP. He reached beyond traditional education and worked with other influential leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to ensure the liberation and equality for African Americans has had an impact on the world we live in today.