The Human Relations Council (HRC) of the Greater Hemet, San Jacinto and Menifee Regions extended the deadline for submissions for its 18th-annual Black History Month Essay Contest to March 25. Middle school, high school and college students in Hemet, San Jacinto and Menifee are eligible.
Past President and current Treasurer Mary Morse, said, “Even though we’re not meeting in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be hosting the 18th annual Black History Month Essay Contest on Zoom.”
Celebrating Black history in the United States began in 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Ph.D., initiated Negro History Week. Woodson, a historian, chose the second week in February because it included the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In 1976 for the bicentennial of the U.S., the weeklong observance was extended to the entire month to accommodate celebrations and activities.
Contest participants are asked to write about a Black American associated with medicine who illustrates the triumph of the human spirit over circumstances and prejudice to build a life of accomplishment.
Student entrants are asked to include answers to the following questions: Who is the person about whom you want to write? When did they live? What did your person do to triumph over circumstances and prejudice to build a life of accomplishment?
Students will be judged on their ability to address the topic, to demonstrate original, creative thinking or to express their ideas in a clear, articulate manner. The judges’ panel will be comprised of HRC members and other community members who are experts in Black history, longtime participants in the Civil Rights movement, sociologists and/or educators.
Students whose essays are chosen will be asked to present their essays virtually and will be notified by phone or email if they need to record their presentation.
Awards will be given for each level: middle school, high school and college. The prize for Best Essay is $100. The runner-up essay will receive $50. Three honorable mentions will be given $25 each. Best Presentation will win $50.
An awards ceremony will be held via Zoom on April 8, where presentations by winning essayists can be viewed.
Home-school and charter school students are welcome to enter; call 951-634-4048 for entry details. For more information on the contest rules, find Human Relations Council of the Greater Hemet, San Jacinto and Menifee Regions on Facebook or visit