Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest

photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pleased to hold an annual statewide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest.  This contest is intended to encourage students to reflect upon Dr. King’s life, philosophy, and impact on the Civil Rights movement and present day America. It is meant to challenge students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. King in their own way.

All Ohio students in grades 6-12 are invited to enter this contest and may submit one (1) entry per student.  Students may choose which type of entry they wish to submit.  All contest entries must be accompanied by a clearly written official entry form, completed in its entirety. (Submissions are not considered without a completed entry form).


2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest

The submission period for the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest is now open!

This year's theme is "keep moving." During the civil rights struggles of the 1960's, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leading voice against social injustices. The fight he led against racism and bigotry had many setbacks along the way, though. Dr. King understood that resilience and persistence would be necessary to achieve the goals of the Civil Rights Movement. Despite this trouble, Dr. King never strayed from his mission and he continued to speak out against injustice. In a speech at Spelman College on April 10, 1960, Dr. King said:

"If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; if you can't walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”

Contest Entries: Challenges and setbacks can sometimes bring out the best or the worst in us all. Think of a time when you were faced with a challenge or setback. Each participant in the contest is invited to participate by creating work that creatively responds to the following question:

When you were faced with a challenge or setback, what did you do? Did it bring out the best or the worst in you? How did you keep moving forward?

For 2021 Contest Rules and the Official Entry Form, Click Here.

To fill out the form digitally, save a copy to your computer first, then fill out the form.

The 2021 MLK Contest Deadline is December 21, 2020

Questions? Call us at (888) 278-7101

Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award

The 2020 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award


The 2020 Winner is:

John Wilson

Greene County Career Center - Global Leadership Project
Xenia, OH

The 2020 Excellence in Teaching Diversity nominations are now closed! 

The Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award is given to an Ohio grade 6-12 teacher who demonstrates exemplary dedication to diversity and teaching the lessons of civil rights in the classroom. Any individual may nominate a teacher.

Award Description:

Each recipient of these awards will receive an honorary certificate, a small gift, and recognition at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest awards ceremony.


•  The nominee must be a current or former grade 6-12 teacher at an Ohio school.

Selection Criteria:

Award selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

•  The nominee’s consistent practice of celebrating diversity with students, colleagues, and community members;
•  The nominee’s ability to incorporate the lessons and tenants of the civil rights movement and Ohio’s civil rights laws into the classroom;
•  The nominee’s positive impact on students, particularly in the promotion of academic excellence and community engagement;
•  The nominee's leadership and communication skills;
•  The nominee’s respect and recognition by his/her peers as one who goes above and beyond the normal expectations of a teacher.

Selection Process: 

Nominations will be reviewed by the staff and Commissioners of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The Commissioners will select the winner based on the above criteria. Awards will be announced in January 2020.

Nomination Process: 

Nominators can respond directly to the questions on the following pages or attach a nomination in letter form. Please limit nomination letters to two typed pages. Nomination forms become the property of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and may be shared with the public and the nominee.

Although nomination questions are geared toward older children and adults, we do encourage input from young nominators as well – feel free to attach young student nominations to the completed form.

2020 Deadline: 

Nominations were required to be emailed by 5:00pm on November 1, 2019, or mailed to the following address. Mailed nominations must be postmarked by October 30, 2019.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Attn: PACE - Excellence in Teaching Diversity

30 E. Broad St., 5th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215



For more on the Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award, including previous winners, click here.