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Essay contest to honor African-Americans during Black History Month

IRONTON, Ohio (Feb. 6, 2007) -- Ohio University Southern is celebrating Black History Month in a new way this year by sponsoring the First Annual Black History Essay Contest. This contest is open to all students in grades four through 12. The goal of the contest is to educate students about the important contributions African-Americans have made to the United States. 

"We want to encourage students to explore elements of history that they otherwise would not," said Robert Pleasant, an Ohio University Southern campus faculty member and one of the contest coordinators. "Textbooks are still catching up and so it's our responsibility to encourage students to look at all aspects of history."

The 2007 essay theme asks students to state what they believe to be the greatest invention ever created by an African-American, and explain why.

Students are asked to research African-American history through books, newspaper articles, encyclopedias and a limited amount of online resources. All essays must be between 750 and 1,000 words, double-paced, on 8.5 x 11 white paper. Entries can be submitted through regular mail to Robert Pleasant, Dean's Office, Ohio University Southern, 1804 Liberty Ave., Ironton, Ohio, 45638. All applications must be postmarked or received by Feb. 21. Applicants may also e-mail their essays to Robert Pleasant at pleasanr@ohio.edu.

All essays must include a bibliography and a cover page that includes the student's name, address, home phone number, school, grade and age. The student's name should not appear anywhere else on the essay.

A panel of judges selected by Ohio University Southern will judge essays. The judging will be divided into three age groups of students: grades four through six, grades seven through nine and grades 10 through 12. Each category will have a first, second and third place winner. All first-place finishers will each receive $100, second-place winners $50 and third-place finishers $25.

"I believe that through the process, students will develop a better and more accurate understanding of how African-Americans have contributed to our community and country," Pleasant said. 

The awards presentation will take place at the Black History Month Reception "Celebrating History," at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Mains Rotunda at the Vern Riffe Center on campus.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy at 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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