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2020 MLK Art and Writing Contest

November 26, 2019

To commemorate the life, work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., U of I students enrolled for the 2020 spring semester are invited to create a written work or piece of art in response to a prompt about equality and social, racial and ethnic justice.

"There comes a time when silence is betrayal." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain...

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate...

Now let us begin. Now let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter - but beautiful - struggle for a new world.” (King Jr., Martin Luther. "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." April 4, 1967, Speech at Riverside Church, Upper Manhattan, New York)

Entries are due Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

Submit written work electronically to MLK Contest Chair Ian Leibbrandt at

Submit art entries to the College of Law Administration Office in Menard Room 101 (711 S. Rayburn Drive) to Ian Leibbrandt. For non-Moscow participants, contact Leibbrandt to coordinate submission.


All University of Idaho degree-seeking undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled for the 2020 spring semester at any U of I location are invited to enter; no more than one written work and one art entry per student.

Students must submit a student permission form along with their written work or art piece.

Learn more and access the permission form online, or contact Leibbrandt vie email or phone at 208-885-0958.

Judging Criteria

Written work (up to 700 words) will be judged on understanding of the topic, original thinking, effectiveness in presenting a personal point of view, literary style, grammar and spelling. Undergraduate and graduate/professional entries will be judged separately.

Art entries will be judged on how they evoke understanding on the part of the observer as to what civil rights issue or event or related message is being presented. Art entries can be submitted in any medium and may include an introduction up to 250 words to explain the entry. Undergraduate and graduate/professional entries will be judged separately.


A scholarship will be given to the following:

  • Best undergraduate student written work
  • Best graduate/professional student written work
  • Best undergraduate student art piece
  • Best graduate/professional student art piece

Honorable Mention scholarships will be given as funding allows.

See a list of previous winners.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at