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13th Annual Black History Essay Contest

"A Narnia Studios Production"
Narnia Studios 13th Annual Black History Essay Winners

....and the winners are:
Front: Brandon Warren, Nathan Waters, Davis Upchurch
Back: Natasha Townsend, Shanita Jackson

(click on a name below to see their essay)
Davis Upchurch, 3rd Grade, Fletcher  Elementary
Brandon Warren, 3rd Grade, Hillandale Elementary Nathan Waters, 3rd Grade, Hillandale Elementary
Natasha Townsend, 7th Grade, Hendersonville Middle School
Shanita Jackson*, 7th Grade, Hendersonville Middle School
*Shanita is the only student to win both in third and seventh grade. Congratulations!
3rd Grade Winners

Dr. Charles Drew
by Davis Upchurch, Fletcher Elementary

In 1904, Charles Drew was born in Washington D.C. on June 3rd. When he grew up it was hard times, most black Americans were not allowed in hospitals. In high school, Charles played basketball, he was good at basketball. Charles was one of the best players on the team. A couple of years later, he developed an interest with blood and medicine.

In 1925, Charles Drew went to Amherst College. Later in 1930 he became a student at McGill Surgeon School on Montreal, Canada. Afterwards, he assisted doctors at Howard University and also at Freedman’s Hospital. In 1950 Drew died in an automobile crash in Burlington, North Carolina on April first because he was refused at the hospital.

I picked this person because he saved countless lives in WWII. His greatest accomplishment was he discovered blood types such as A, AB, ABO. He made our community better by discovering blood types so we would not be given the wrong blood. He was furious that African American blood was kept separate from white American blood. He was a good man and the hospital rejected him!

Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Brandon Warren, Hillandale Elementary

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a powerful speaker and a non-violent man. He was a Christian, too. He did a lot of great things.

He was born January 15, 1929. He was born Michael King, Jr. He graduated Morehouse College in 1948. He skipped 9th and 12th grades. He graduated Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951. He became Baptist preacher.

He wanted to stop discrimination and segregation. He organized the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. He ran many campaigns to end segregation. He used non-violent ways but was still arrested 13 times.

Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was also given many honorary degrees. He gave the “I have a dream” speech in 1963during the March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed April 14, 1968 by James Earl Ray. He did a lot of things for the Civil Rights Movement. I hope his work can go on forever.


Lonnie Johnson
by Nathan Waters, Hillandale Elementary

Did you know that you could invent something using items in your house? Well, that’s what Lonnie Johnson did. He was born October 6, 1949 in Mobile, Alabama. Lonnie and his brothers made a go-cart out of household items and a lawn mower motor. One experiment he did exploded and burned down half of his mom’s kitchen.

After high school, he built a robot named LINEX. He received a degree in nuclear study. In 1973, he worked at NASA. While there at NASA, he helped with the Galileo satellite mission to Jupiter.

In 1982, while trying to make an inexpensive heat pump using tubing and the sink faucet, a stream of water shot out of the nozzle across the room. He thought it would make a great water gun. So using a pipe and an empty plastic soda bottle he made the first water gun. He called it the “Power Drencher” because it shot almost 50 feet. In 1991, he received the patent and the toy was named the Super Soaker. As of today, more than 200 million have been sold.

Still today, Lonnie Johnson continues to invent. Some of these inventions help many people. Maybe someday I might invent something to help someone. I can’t believe that a rocket scientist invented the water gun. I think that is so cool.


7th Grade Winners

W.E.B. DuBois
by Natasha Townsend, Hendersonville Middle School

A courageous, honorable, intelligent man once described by Martin Luther King, Jr. as a man of great strength and sensibility and a “tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths”; William Edward DuBois began his life on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on the Lloyd plantation.

DuBois was intelligently gifted and took great pride in doing better academically than his New England classmates. Like all other high school students, William desperately wanted to go to Harvard, but financial needs stopped him. With the help from family and friends, along with a scholarship to Fisk College, William was glad to further his dreams of a better education. DuBois faced racial discrimination. He disapproved of the way people of his race were being treated.

Determined to raise awareness about racial issues, DuBois became a writer, editor and a passionate orator. After attending Fisk College, DuBois entered Harvard sponsored by scholarships. At Harvard, William studied philosophy, majored in history also studying economic and social problems.

DuBois always wanted a better life for himself and others and had a huge interest in making living conditions the best they could possibly be for his race. He was the very first African American to receive a doctorate degree from Harvard. On August 27, 1963, W.E.B. DuBois died in Accra, Ghana. During his long life, DuBois changed the world significantly. His passionate desire to make a difference inspires us still.



James Weldon Johnson
by Shanita Jackson*, Hendersonville Middle School

Every American citizen should recognize the name James W. Johnson, but sadly few do. A great civil rights activist, Johnson wrote the poem that later became the national anthem for African Americans everywhere: “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. The Florida native wrote this song while serving as the principal of a small middle school. The brilliantly chosen words inspired many people starting in the late1880’s and continuing on today. The poem was set to music by Mr. Johnson’s younger brother, John R. Johnson in 1905.

Five hundred students at the segregated Stanton School recited the poem for the first time publicly at a celebration for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. During the 1970’s the song resurfaced and was often performed publicly after The Star Spangled Banner.

Growing up I faintly remember my mother singing it to my siblings and I as a preschooler, but never heard it in school. “Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sind a song full of the hope that the present has brought us”. Though merely two sentences, those words still filled me with joy. All American children should be exposed to the Negro National Anthem, so that all may hear the encouraging words that burst out of the hearts of the people that fought for the rights we have today. I, Shanita Jackson, want to thank you, James Weldon Johnson, for filling those who thought all was lost with unwavering hope and faith.

*Shanita is the only student to win both in third and seventh grade.


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