Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Poetry Slam Contest
More Than A Dream...Poetry Slam
● Students are asked to create an original and creative poem.
● Must be in poem form (i.e. haiku, free verse, limerick, etc.)
● Students should follow the prompt in its entirety.
● Including your full name , we ask that you also include your age, grade, and the name of
the school on your submission
This was chosen after long discussions of how we could pay homage to Dr. King and his
actual work without feeding into the sanitized messages that we are often fed. The first part of
the theme "Where Do We Go From Here" is in homage to Dr. King's speech delivered at the
Eleventh Annual SCLC Convention and his book. He spoke about the plight for African
Americans in the United States and the ways that they were able to resist.
He then asks the question "Where do we go from here?". He displays his critique of
American capitalism, the importance of the black dollar, perseverance, and following the legacy
of resistance from chattel slavery through Reconstruction and then the civil rights movement.
Dr.King embodied the proactive activism that many students yearn for today and we
believe that this theme was very important for our community at Penn State, and surrounding
State College Community. ‘A Tradition of Resistance’ speaks to the massive resistance of black
people in the United States and throughout the African diaspora.
As we pay homage to the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination
through this theme, we will pull from the tradition of resistance to evoke a sense of proactiveness
and student activism that reflects the strength and courage of the civil rights movement.
In celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy we keep in mind the acts of
counteraction, nonviolent resistance. Dr.King states in his book “ Where Do We Go From Here...
Chaos or Community?” :
“We maintained the hope while transforming the hate of traditional revolutions into
positive nonviolent power. As long as the hope was fulfilled there was little questioning of
nonviolence. But when the hopes were blasted, when people came to see that in spite of progress
their conditions were still insufferable … despair began to set in” (King, Where, 45).
Alluding to the social climate of the United States of America during the 1960s, Dr.King
began to question the progress of the efforts of Black America. In your poem explore the ways in
which the efforts of activists are impacting today’s society.
First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $50
Third Prize: $25
● Submit your poem in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format to email@example.com
● Submission deadline: January 14th by 11:59 pm.
● You are invited to attend the Poetry Slam on January 23rd, 7pm at State College High where the winners will be recognized and poem will be read.