King’s Legacy Lives: A Writing Contest

martin luther king speaking

Martin Luther King Day Writing Contest 2019-2020

University of Montana 2019-2020

Writing Contest Details

Writing Prompt

How are you implementing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy here at the University of Montana?


Original essay of 1,200 to 1,500 words; double spaced; uploaded to this website; includes a title page with author’s name, writing division, email address, phone number, and essay title; the author’s name should not appear anywhere else in the paper except for on the title page.

Writing Divisions

  • First and second year undergraduate students
  • Third and fourth year undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • Staff, faculty, and administrators


Thanks to generous support from the African-American Studies Program, President's Office, Provost's Office, and Registrar's Office, winners will receive the following awards.

First, second, and third place scholarships for students in both upper and lower undergraduate divisions and graduate division: $250, $150, and $100.

First, second, and third place awards for staff, faculty, and administrators to donate to non-profits or other groups working to advance King’s legacy: $250, $150, and $100


Friday, December 6, 2019


Submit essay with title page using the online submission form (discontinued).

Please upload your paper saved as the title of the paper (but not your name) in Word form (.doc or .docx) Example: papertitle.doc


Winners will be announced in early January and will be invited to read their essay at a panel on King’s Legacy on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 3:30 p.m.

Legacy defined

King’s legacy encompassed many elements. Here are several of the most central:

  • love for enemies regardless of how defined
  • distinction between hating evil and hating individuals who do evil things; King always called for embracing the former and rejecting the latter
  • strong support for higher education for all people, but particularly the African-American community
  • criticism of white supremacy in all its forms
  • promotion of the “beloved community” in which people of color and white people worked and struggled together side-by-side
  • recognition of the linked movements for economic and racial justice
  • unapologetic criticism of the Vietnam War in particular and militarization in general
  • forthright and direct challenging of racism
  • impatience with gradualism in the name of nicety

More Information

For more information contact MLK, Jr., Day committee chair Tobin Miller Shearer at, 406-243-6225