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Students participate in DC Emancipation Day Sesquicentennial Celebration—Poster, Multimedia, and Essay Contest

Image: The winners of the poster, multimedia, and essay contest held as part of Gallaudet University’s DC Emancipation Day Sesquicentennial Celebration gather together with Gallaudet University officials and author Tim Wise (back row, third from left).

The winners of the poster, multimedia, and essay contest held as part of Gallaudet University’s DC Emancipation Day Sesquicentennial Celebration gather together with Gallaudet University officials and author Tim Wise (back row, third from left).

Image: Chanice Coles won first prize in the poster category. Her work focused on illustrating the life of Amos Kendall, a one-time U.S. postmaster general.

Chanice Coles won first prize in the poster category. Her work focused on illustrating the life of Amos Kendall, a one-time U.S. postmaster general.

Image: Gallaudet University president T. Alan Hurwitz and provost Stephen Weiner view the poster exhibit following the awards ceremony.

Gallaudet University president T. Alan Hurwitz and provost Stephen Weiner view the poster exhibit following the awards ceremony.

Clerc Center students from kindergarten through grade 12 participated in a poster, multimedia, and essay contest that was held during Gallaudet University's DC Emancipation Day Sesquicentennial Celebration. The contest was part of the University's semester-long celebration of the District of Columbia Emancipation Act. This act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862, during the Civil War ended slavery in the District of Columbia.

The contest topics focused on the life of Amos Kendall, postmaster general under President Andrew Jackson. The students already knew of Kendall's history related to their schools: that in 1856 Kendall donated two acres of land on which the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind was built and later renamed Kendall School in his honor. For their submissions, the contestants were charged with exploring other aspects of Kendall's life as a member of the government during the turbulent pre-Civil War years and exploring his views on slavery during his time in office.

All contest winners were invited to attend the University's official celebration in Elstad Auditorium on November 13. At the celebration, Mr. Timothy Wise, acclaimed author and lecturer on racism and white privilege, gave a talk to the University community on the need for honest and open discussion about slavery to ensure that history is never repeated.

Following Wise's talk, an awards ceremony was held to recognize the winners of the poster, multimedia, and essay contest categories. The first place winners each received an Apple iPad. University and Clerc Center faculty, teachers, and staff served as contest judges. Fred Beam, a math teacher at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf, served as the Clerc Center representative on the University's planning committee for Gallaudet's recognition and celebration of the District of Columbia Emancipation Compensatory Act of 1862.

The students who participated in the contests gained a deeper understanding of our civil rights heritage.

We congratulate the winning students!

DC Emancipation Day Sesquicentennial Celebration-Poster, Multimedia, and Essay Contest winners:

POSTERS

  • 1st place: Chanice Coles
  • 2nd place: Markea Howard
  • 3rd place: Yolanda Ford
  • Honorable Mention: Miguel Brehm

VIDEOS

  • 1st place: Yesenia Garcia
  • 2nd place: Eliyas Assefa
  • 3rd Place: Zhencheng Chen

ESSAYS

  • 1st place: Jennida Willoughby
  • 2nd place: Diana Mendez-Leon