Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Writing Open

Submissions are due Monday, November 30

Information from the Dubuque Branch of the NAACP

All K-12 students in the Dubuque community are invited to participate in this year’s MLK Tribute. With support from teacher(s), parent(s), staff members in community-based organizations, or on their own, students create an entry and submit it through Monday, November 30. All entries are then reviewed and honorees from each grade will be recognized in conjunction with MLK’s birthday at a community gathering in January 2021. We
encourage all students (as individuals, in pairs or teams) to participate, to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr., the contributions of persons of color and/or to gain insights about what each of us can do to assure that we value and practice justice and equality.

Secondary Guidelines

6th through 12th Grade – “Hidden” History
This activity helps students discover the tools and the heart they need to build a more peaceful world.

  • Choose a “hidden hero” – someone who stood up against injustice with nonviolence and may not have been included in school textbooks. The person can be a contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., another historical figure, or someone in the present day. The person could be someone who played a role in Civil Rights history in the City of Dubuque, such as Ralph Montgomery or Nathaniel Morgan, the State of Iowa, such as Edna Griffin, or the U.S. or worked for Human Rights in other countries.
  • Think the following essential questions: What does “the common good” mean, and why does understanding it matter? How did the hidden hero understand the common good? Why did they serve? How far were they willing to go to make a difference? How can I become a peaceful hero?You could draw a book cover about the hidden hero; create a diagram, chart, map, graph or timeline with facts about the peaceful hero; list important facts you learned about their peaceful hero; create a powerpoint presentation, write an essay or create something else to share what you learned and answers these questions.
  •  Research an African-American inventor, scientist, artist, writer or other essential or creative worker. One starting point is the list at or do your own Internet search.
  • Research one of the African-American members of Congress since 1870 listed at or do an Internet search for “African-American members of congress”.
  •  Research one of the people involved in the March on Washington in 1963, other Civil Rights Marches or the present-day Black Lives Matter movement. You could create original music, visual art (including computer-aided work), or reflective writings (poetry, short stories, reflective essays, explanatory essays, etc.) in which they explore that person’s life. In addition to your work, write a brief paragraph telling how you think about the world differently because of the person or movement you researched.
  • Learn about the six principles of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom and then write a poem, essay or song that would help others understand one of these principles or create unique 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional, or digital art illustrating a principle.