Skip to main content

King County 8th graders invited to enter essay on legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


King County Executive
Dow Constantine

King County 8th graders invited to enter essay on legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Effort to earn the right to vote is theme of annual essay contest


The King County Civil Rights Commission invites all 8th grade students throughout the county to participate in the Commission's 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Writing Contest and present their ideas on Dr. King's legacy of peace and justice.

The Essay Contest is open to all 8th grade students in King County. Three essays will receive prizes. First, second, and third prize winners will win trophies and a commemorative Dr. King pin.

Participants must submit an essay that focuses on the theme of the County's 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, set to take place on Thursday, January 15, 2015 in downtown Seattle. This year's theme is:

"So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others."

The rules for the Essay Contest are:

  • The essay must be between 750 and 1,000 words and must be typed and doubled spaced on white 8.5" by 11" paper.
  • Contestants must submit one typed original essay and one copy of the essay, by mail.
  • The name, address, home phone number, email address, school, grade, and age of student author must be submitted on a cover page accompanying the essay. Do not place your name on any other page.
  • All essays must be in English and include a bibliography, utilizing at minimum one book source, but no more than one website source­.

All essays will be judged on the author's knowledge of Dr. King and his work in the Civil Rights Movement, originality of ideas, development of point of view, insight into the essay theme, and clarity of expression, organization, and grammar. All essays submitted become the property of the Commission and will be displayed on County web pages, in County publications, in local publications, and in the King County Tunnel. Submitted essays will not be returned.


All essays must be postmarked by Friday, November 7, 2014 and mailed to: King County Civil Rights Commission, 401 Fifth Ave., Suite 135, Seattle, WA 98104. Essays postmarked after that date will not considered, nor returned.

Notification of Winners:

Winners will be notified by mail.

For more information on the King County Civil Rights Commission's 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest, please contact Paula Harris-White, Department of Executive Services Equity and Social Justice Manager, at 206-263-2444.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography