Grant for Black History Institute received, poster contest winners announced

At a press event Tuesday, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum at Marshall University announced a major grant from West Virginia Humanities Council supporting its summer Black History Institute, as well as winners of the 2021 Black History Competition. The lyceum also premiered short documentaries by local filmmakers, and announced upcoming events involving commemoration of the 95th annual salute to African Americans in history.

The grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council will support K-12 teachers who will study history and how to better integrate Black history within their lessons. The award covers three hours of graduate credit and provides teachers with $500 stipends.

This summer’s Black History Institute will be the fourth such program since 2017 at Marshall University and is scheduled for June 19-23, 2021. Tentative plans include travel to historic sites; however, the pandemic may require virtual presentations if travel remains unsafe in June.

The program also is made possible through support from Glenwood Foundation and other Woodson Lyceum resources, including Marshall University’s College of Arts and Media, College of Education and Professional Development, Intercultural Affairs, W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications and West Virginia’s Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs.

The deadline for applications is by 5 p.m. on March 31. Instructions for applicants will be available by mid-February. In the meantime, teachers with questions should feel free to contact Burnis Morris at morrisb@marshall.edu. Applications can be submitted to:  https://marshall.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1FTTHmaZiBcSW2O.

Also celebrating Black History is the annual Black History Poster contest, sponsored by the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum. The 2021 Poster Competition winners are:

Marshall University winners

1st Place: Isabella Schrader, freshman, Biological Engineering, from Chesapeake, Ohio

“For my poster, I decided to portray two separate individuals, holding up a poster in protest,” Schrader said. “As you can see, the two people are of different races, symbolizing that everyone must work together for any progress to be made regarding racial justice. I used a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., because his words greatly resonate with the overarching theme of the project, as well as current events surrounding racism. The words also added to the effect of the protest sign, as part of it appears to be directly written on the sign. The tape over silence is meant to show that if people are being silent, they are doing damage and the tape must be removed in order for real change to be accomplished. The sky behind the poster and hands is bright blue and has white, puffy clouds to show that even if a day is ‘calm’ or ‘nice,’ the fight is not over, and we must continue to take action. Overall, I wanted this poster to show that racial justice is essential to a better society, and we will only achieve this goal if people are united.”

2nd Place: Shawna Lockard, freshman, Biology Major, Minor in Chemistry, from Kermit, West Virginia

“No one knows a single right way to go about combatting the systematic institution of racism,” Lockard said. “However, there is a wrong action- no action at all. No matter what you are able to do to assume the role of an antiracist or what resources you have to go about fighting for true equality, the important part is that you do something. You break away from the shackles of indifference and inaction that keeps you bound and raise your fist to join the movement. I’ve learned that if a group of Americans are being mistreated, it is a problem for ALL Americans and demands immediate action. For this poster, I used only acrylic paint and white ink.”

3rd Place: Tyler Hebert, freshman, Civil Engineering with a minor in Chemistry, from Huntington

“As a white individual, I felt it was necessary to focus primarily on African American college students and specifically a female African American Marshall student rather than focusing on ideals that didn’t directly impact Marshall students,” Hebert said. “My model is a freshman student who I met and became close friends with during my first semester at Marshall. Utilizing her in my poster was a way to convey her troubles, experiences, and overall opinions on how to showcase and improve racial justice. My concept is to show that racial injustice is an ongoing issue and will continue to persist no matter what happens, linking directly to the historical quote located in my poster, ‘You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea,’ by Medgar Evers. With continual abuse and neglect of African Americans through our country and government, the cause is gaining more traction and attention now due to the exposure of people to the issue. My poster is intended to draw your attention and be impactful in that this fight for racial equality will not be silenced, hitting to the metaphor of the women ripping the tape off her face which has ‘silence’ written on it.”

Elementary School winner

1st Place: Elynn Winters, 5th Grade, Southside Elementary School, Teacher Courtney Arnold

This poster is commended for its forthright representation of the “Racial Justice” theme; clarity of message; color scheme; and also for use of technology in the creation of the design. The use of emojis situates this as a youthful entry of these times.

“My poster is about supporting equal rights for people of color,” Elynn said. “I put equality for all at the bottom because everyone needs to take that in.”

Middle School winner

1st Place: Milla Werthammer, 8th Grade, Barboursville Middle School, Teacher Molly Fisher

Commended for color, subtle skin tones, scale shift from hands to portraits, and featuring both prominent African American men and women.

“While preparing my submission for this contest, I learned many facts about Black history and was inspired by the four most influential African American leaders,” Milla said. “I chose to illustrate Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou and Barack Obama because they fundamentally helped shape the world in which we live today.”

High School winners

1st Place: Chloe Massey, 9th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Anthony Loveday

Commended for powerful expression of the 2021 theme, the honoring of those who have died recently in police custody, and a moving use of color, paint, word, and image. All areas of this ambitious poster were filled with meaning, with supporting subject matter positioned around the central focus on two African Americans. The original typography of “No Justice, No Peace” is exceptional – bold, dimensional, emotional. This entry is both a successful poster design and a work of fine art.

“I learned that race-based inequality is a major issue in the world we know today,” Chloe said. “I learned that I can push my artistic skills and make a beautiful piece of art that means something and could help someone. I painted this painting to show that no matter where you came from, no matter your skin tone, religion, or culture you can make a change and stand together to make a world a better place. I’m so happy that I got the chance to make this because I never knew I was capable of making something so powerful. This piece made me realize that I have a place in this world and it’s to help other people. So that hopefully they can help others and the world can be the way it should be. Equal.”

2nd Place: Alexandria Lindberg, 12th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Diana Frazier

The lighthearted and appealing color scheme and decorative border effectively draw viewers to notice that this is in fact an image of protest and proclaims ideals of racial justice.

“I demonstrated the history of protests in my submission, as well as emphasizing meaningful quotes that showcase the emotions of those who demanded equal rights,” Alexandria said. “Dr. Woodson pushed for recognition of Black history in schools; this contribution has developed into an entire month of awareness and appreciation of those who fought and continue to fight for equal rights. Especially now and within the past few months, the recognition of the current problems African Americans are currently facing has opened up more attention towards the importance of voting for change.”

3rd Place-Tie: Kyleigh Hoey, 11th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Diana Frazier

This entry takes an original approach to the use of the fist as a universal symbol of protest. The text on the fist is well chosen for the theme and also relate well to the forms of the hand. The collaged, photographic images in the space around the fist are diverse in subject, scale, and source, and link contemporary and historical times.

“I was inspired by Carter G. Woodson’s education and teaching career and feel an even greater connection to his inspiring story given our shared experience of growing up in Huntington,” Kyleigh said. “My poster includes a central Black Lives Matter fist to represent the ongoing struggle African Americans to achieve full equity and justice in this country. In white are the words of Carter G. Woodson and the title of my poster. Along the edges are pictures torn out of old National Geographic magazines that date to the 60s and are intended to symbolize something of this continuing struggle and elements of black history. The more prominent photos are of Woodson and important symbols of his past.”

3rd Place-Tie: Nicole LeGrow, 12th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Anthony Loveday

This image is bold and yet it also rewards the careful viewer. The tear, the draped chain around neck and shoulders, and the American flag covering the mouth combine to create a notable sense of pathos. The choice to present a woman relates well to the role of women in founding the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I chose to incorporate specific symbols like the chains around her body and the American flag taped over her mouth to spotlight how we silence and ignore the issues on race inequality because as white people we feel like it does not pertain to us,” Nicole said. “In reality Black people must deal with systematic racism and discrimination every day which effects an entire class of people and if we stay silent about racial inequality, nothing will ever change. I also chose to add newspaper to the background to symbolize how Black Lives Matter is negatively portrayed in the media and how racial issues are almost never covered or given the positive attention that it so desperately needs to show the world that racism is still happening and yes it is up to us the fix it.”