Watch CBS News

WJZ's Black History Oratory Competition 2024: Hear the speeches

WJZ's Black History Oratory Competition 2024: Hear the speeches
WJZ's Black History Oratory Competition 2024: Hear the speeches 02:30

Dozens of students from across the state submitted their essays to WJZ's Black History Competition, and last week, 20 finalists read to a panel of judges and an audience of family and friends.

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:

"Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school and show that besides the cartridge box, the ballot box, and the jury box, you have also the knowledge box." – Frederick Douglass

"I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism." – Oprah Winfrey 

"None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody –a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots." – Thurgood Marshall

On Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., the winners will be announced on WJZ-TV, during WJZ's Black History Oratory Competition Special!

Watch the speeches below. To see a specific contestant's speech, find their name with the corresponding time stamp below. 

WJZ hosts the 2024 Black History Month Oratory Competition by WJZ on YouTube

Olivia Averitt (4:30)

Charan Bala (7:40)

Madeline Campbell (11:50)

Abby Chadwick (16:10)

Amelie Cook (19:55)

Jesse Fawole (24:50)

Bre'Anna Marie Harper (29:09)

Loreley Jimenez-Abreu (32:10)

Taniya Johnson (35:15)

Chloe Kang (38:30)

Grace Li (43:00)

Ella Lovelace (46:50)

Noelle Markos (50:55)

Horizon Niroula  (53:39)

Chiemela Nwokoro (1:02:35)

Chidi Onwuanibe (1:07:10)

Alexis Robinson (1:11:25)

Elizabeth-Paris Russell-Ward (1:14:30)

Marquelia Sanderson (1:17:34)

Vivian Wang (1:21:50)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.