Deadline extended to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.
Deadline extended to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.
Through his public speaking, writings and sermons, Dr. King educated, inspired, informed and shaped the national and global conscience on a variety of issues. The first three excerpts below highlight King's approach to questions of globalization, education reform, and poverty eradication. The others highlight King's ideals about religion, leadership and civic engagement.
Presented by the Center for International Affairs and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity & Equal Opportunity
"Some years ago a famous novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of suggested plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one: "A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together. " This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great "world house" in which we have to live together-black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu-a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace….
All inhabitants of the globe are now neighbors. This world-wide neighborhood has been brought into being as a result of the modern scientific and technological revolutions. The world of today is vastly different from the world of just one hundred years ago…. The years ahead will see a continuation of the same dramatic developments. Physical science will carve new highways through the stratosphere. In a few years astronauts and cosmonauts will probably walk comfortably across the uncertain pathways of the moon. In two or three years it will be possible, because of the new supersonic jets, to fly from New York to London in two and one-half hours. In the years ahead medical science will greatly prolong the lives of men by finding a cure for cancer and deadly heart ailments. Automation and cyber nation will make it possible for working people to have undreamed-of amounts of leisure time…
Nothing could be more tragic than for men to live in these revolutionary times and fail to achieve the new attitudes and the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands… One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world-wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.
Presented by Baker-Nord Center for Humanities and Kelvin Smith Library
"It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture…Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one's self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically... To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction… But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals…
We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living. "
Presented by the Undergraduate Student Government and Share the Vision
"There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty … The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for "the least of these."
Presented by the Cleveland Hillel Foundation and the President's Advisory Council on Minorities
"What is man…? " This question flowing from the lips of the Psalmist is one of the most important questions facing any generation. The whole political, social and economic structure of any society is largely determined by its answer to this pressing question. Indeed, the conflict which we witness in the world today between totalitarianism and democracy is at bottom a conflict over the question, "what is man" - whether man is a cog in the wheel of the state or whether he is a free creative being capable of facing responsibility…
Let us begin by stating that man is an animal with a material body. This is somewhat obvious, but nevertheless it should be stressed... Yet we cannot stop here. Man is more than an animal. Man is more than flesh and blood. Some years ago a chemist attempted to determine the worth of man in terms of material value. The results of the study revealed that in terms of the markets of that day man was worth only 99 cents in material value. This simply means that the stuff of man's bodily make-up is worth only 99 cents (I guess now that the standards of living are a little higher man is worth a little more). But is it possible to explain the whole of man in terms of 99 cents? Can we explain the literary genius of a Shakespeare in terms of 99 cents? Can we explain the artistic [genius] of a Michelangelo in terms of 99 cents? Can we explain the musical genius of a Shakespearean play? We have never seen a group of animals sitting down discussing intricate problems concerning the political and economic structure of a society. We have never come across a group of animals speculating on the nature and destiny of the universe. But man, that being that God created just a little lower than the angels, is able to think a poem and write it, he's able to think a symphony and compose it. "
Presented by the PanHellenic Council, Inter-Fraternity Congress and Housing & Residence Life, FYE
"And so the first question that the priest [and the Levite] asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? " But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? " That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job. " Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor? " The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me? " The question is, "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them? " That's the question. "
Prompt No. 1 Excerpted from King, Martin Luther, Jr., The World House, in Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1968) pp 167 – 191. Online: here »
Prompt No. 2 Excerpted from King, Martin Luther, Jr., The Purpose of Education, in The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. : Called to Serve, Clayborne Carson (Ed.), University of California Press (1992), pp 123 – 124. Online: here »
Prompt No. 3 Taken from King, Martin Luther Jr., Les Prix Nobel en 1964. The text in the New York Times is excerpted. His speech of acceptance delivered the day before in the same place is reported fully both in Les Prix Nobel en 1964 and the New York Times. Read the full Nobel Peace Prize Lecture Online: here »
Prompt No. 4 Excerpted from, Martin Luther King Jr., What is Man? Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. : Rediscovering Previous Values, Calyborne Carson (Ed), The Univ. California Press (994) pp 174 - 178. (PDF) Online: here »
Prompt No. 5 Excerpted from King, Martin Luther Jr., A Dangerous Unselfishness: Address to the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in All Labor has Dignity, Michael K. Honey (Ed.) 2011, pp 179 – 195. Online: here »
The 2013 MLK Essay contest is made possible by generous financial and organizational support from:
The President's Advisory Council on Minorities (PACM)
The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity
Baker Nord Center for Humanities
Center for International Affairs
Cleveland Hillel Foundation
Greek Life Office (Pan-Hellenic Council and Inter-Fraternity Congress)
Housing and Residence Life, First Year Experience
Kelvin Smith Library
Share the Vision, and
Undergraduate Student Government
View the complete guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions
or download the complete package as a PDF
Choose one of the excerpted speeches from the complete guidelines and write an original essay of no more than 750 words on the relevance of the passage to contemporary social, political, and/or economic domestic/ global issue. You may consult external resources while formulating and writing your essay; however, you must attribute prior or unoriginal work and ideas to the correct sources. Please comply with the university's academic integrity standards and policy on plagiarism.
1. Originality and Creativity - 25%
2. Grammar and Mechanics - 25%
3. Relevance to Prompts - 25%
4. Relevance for Policy Discourse - 25%
1. $1,000 Faculty Prize, one winner
2. $1,000 Staff Prize, one winner
3. $500 Graduate/ Professional Student First Place Winner
4. $500 Undergraduate Student First Place Winner
5. $300 Graduate/ Professional Student Runner-up
6. $300 Undergraduate Student Runner-up
Participants grant the organizers and sponsors the non-exclusive right to announce or reproduce, at their discretion, any and all submitted essays by any print, electronic, voice or video media of its choosing.
Submit/ Upload Essay
Essays must be no more than 750 words.
To submit an essay, please visit: www.surveymonkey.com/s/cwru-mlk-essay
The MLK Essay Contest is open from Dec. 1, 2012 to Jan. 17, 2013.
All entries must be submitted by 5 p. m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013.
Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered for the MLK Essay Contest Prize.
Contact: Obie Okuh, MLK Essay Coordinator at email@example.com