A contest for an inclusive society

Deadline: June 5; Award: up to $2,000

A contest for an inclusive society

John Estey Student Writing Competition

Give me a song of hope and a world where I can sing it.

— Pauli Murray, Dark Testament

Pauli Murray (1910-1985) was difficult to define. They were a poet, a lawyer, a priest, a freight hopper, Eleanor Roosevelt’s friend, arrested for refusing to comply with bus segregation laws, a closeted member of the LBGTQ+ community, a professor, and so much more. Their work has influenced Supreme Court decisions, the Civil Rights movement, and countless individual people.

This prompt is a quote from Murray’s collection of poems titled Dark Testament. It can be used as a first line, a last line, a jumping-off point, an inspiration for your students’ work. They can use the entire quote or portions of it to write a fiction or nonfiction story, poem, song, scene, short monologue or other form of writing. Submissions should be 1,000 words or less regardless of format.

For more information, visit https://americanwritersmuseum.org/writing-competition/