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WJZ's Black History Oratory Competition 2023

The essays for WJZ's 2023 Black History Oratory Competition are in!

The annual competition invites Maryland students in grades 9 through 12 to write an original essay of 500 words based on a prompt provided to them.

This year, participants were asked to choose one quote from the three listed below and explain in detail what it means to them:

  • "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." - George Washington Carver  

  • "Don't sit down and wait for opportunities to come…Get up and make them!"  – Madam C. J. Walker 

  • "Impossibilities are merely things of which we have not learned, or which we do not wish to happen."  – Charles W. Chesnutt  

The students with the highest-scored essays will be invited to perform their essay in person, in front of judges and an audience of family and friends.

The speeches will be recorded and streamed online, in their entirety, on CBS News Baltimore.

  • Thursday, February 23rd at 8pm
  • Friday, February 24th at 8pm
  • Saturday, February 25th at 3pm

Then the winners will be announced on WJZ-TV, during WJZ's Black History Oratory Competition Special!

  • Saturday, February 25th at 7pm

RELATED: Meet the winners of last year's oratory competition

Here are the prizes the winning students will receive:

  • First place: $700 from WJZ, $2,500 from Walmart;
  • Second place: $400 from WJZ, $1,500 from Walmart
  • Third place: $200 from WJZ, $1,000 from Walmart.

Note (Jan. 3): Walmart has increased each prize amount by $500

Good luck to all of the students!

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