The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation's African American Experience Fund, has launched Expressions of Freedom, a nationwide artistic competition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Contest submissions will be accepted from students 13 to 18 years old in three categories - photography, poetry, and digital short films. The first-place winner in each category will receive a $2,500 academic scholarship and the second-place winner will receive a $1,000 academic scholarship. The deadline for entries is October 15, 2012. You can find all the details at this website.
"The issue that was at the heart of the Civil War - the continual struggle for equality for all - remains relevant today," said Jonathan B. Jarvis, National Park Service director. "This contest encourages young people to reflect on their own personal meanings of freedom and creatively express those thoughts."
Expressions of Freedom is designed to connect student artists to the significance of the American Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the system of national parks that commemorate events associated with the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.
Cane River Creole National Historical Park's Oakland and Magnolia Plantations were once home to hundreds of enslaved laborers. Many of those individuals, along with their descendants remained on the plantations well into the 20th century. One of those individuals, Solomon Williams was a highly skilled blacksmith whose decorative iron cross grave markers are currently housed in the park's museum collection.