“Civil Rights Today” Essay Contest Sponsored by LBJ Foundation and UT Austin College of Education November 11, 2013

LBJ signing Civil Rights Act of 1968

The College of Education and its partners are sponsoring a "Civil Rights Today" essay contest to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In collaboration with the LBJ Presidential Library, the LBJ Foundation and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education is pleased to announce the 2014 "Civil Rights Today" essay contest.

The contest commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Johnson. The act guaranteed freedom and rights for all Americans and is considered one of the most sweeping civil rights reforms since Reconstruction.

The contest is open to 12th grade Texas students attending public, private, parochial or home schools and invites them to explore the enduring issue of civil rights as it impacts them or those around them today.

Civil rights are defined as those personal rights guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws enacted by Congress, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Civil rights include, for example:

  • freedom of speech
  • the right to vote
  • due process of law
  • equal protection under the laws
  • protection from unlawful discrimination

Issues related to civil rights include health care, religion and belief, voting, housing, employment, gender equality, immigration, racial justice, domestic violence, public accommodations, gay rights and Americans with disabilities.

Because of his strong personal belief that every man, woman and child should have an equal opportunity to succeed in the United States, President Johnson used the full weight of his political power to push the Civil Rights Act through Congress.

"We're pleased to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the relevance of Civil Rights in the new millennium,” said Larry Temple, chair of the LBJ Board of Trustees. “We hope that this essay contest will inspire many conversations about the importance of equal rights for all Americans."

Students entering the contest must include the name of their nominating teacher on the registration form and essays must be submitted via email by midnight on February 10, 2014.

In addition to the prizes listed below, the winners and three finalists will each receive a copy of The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency 1963-1969, by Lyndon Baines Johnson. All contest participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

  • $2,500 - First place award, plus airfare and accommodations for the winner and his/her parent to attend one day of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in April 2014
  • $1,000 - Second place award
  • $1,000 - Award to first place winner’s sponsoring teacher, plus airfare and accommodations to attend one day of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in April 2014

For additional information, visit http://www.lbjlibrary.org/education/civil-rights-today-essay-contest#sthash.vwU6L7Zj.dpuf.

—Dr. Cinthia Salinas, College of Education, cssalinas@austin.utexas.edu;
Kay Randall, College of Education Communications, 512-363-6520

Last updated on February 10, 2014