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Art and Literacy Contest invites students from Region 4 to submit original works of poetry and spoken word around the theme of ABSOLUTE EQUALITY

Theme Background


On June 19, 1865, U.S. General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 that freed the enslaved people of Texas. In that proclamation General Granger declared the newly freed men and women to have “Absolute Equality.” 


Fast-forward to the year 2020 – The events that took place highlighted the ever-present systems of racial injustice and discrimination that still exist in our nation today.  Those events brought awareness and action, as diverse populations spilled into our streets with cries for justice and equality. As we move forward as a community, focused on diversity over division, we are all asked to consider what the promise of Absolute Equality truly means.

Literary Prompt: What does ABSOLUTE EQUALITY mean


  • Middle and high schools from Region IV (Check your school here.)

  • Undergraduate students from Houston-area colleges (4-year and 2-year)

  • View this map here to confirm that you live within Region IV.

Category Details:

Written Poetry:

· Middle school (6-8 grades): Poem to be no more than 21 lines

· High school (9-12 grades): Poem to be no more than one 8x11 word document

· Undergraduate College: Poem to be no more than one 8x11 word document

Spoken Word Poetry :

· Middle school (6-8 grades): Video length 1-minute maximum

· High school (9-12 grades): Video length 2-minutes maximum

· Undergraduate College: Video length 3-minutes maximum

*Please be sure to record this landscape style.

*Be sure there is no background noise.

Criteria That Will Be Judged:

Written Poetry:

  • Creativity, and insight into the theme

  • Grammar, punctuation, and style

  • Adherence to the length of the written poem as stated above

Spoken Word:

  • Creativity, and insight into the theme

  • Polish, articulation, and style

  • Adherence to the timing of the spoken word as stated above

Contest Rules:

  • Must be written or spoken in English

  • Submission must be original work only

  • The written poem must be typed using only Times New Roman Font, 12-point size in black

  • The written poem must have the author name and title at the top of the page

  • The spoken word can be uploaded via Mp4 or Mov

  • One submission per student

  • Your work will not be returned, please be sure to save a copy for yourself


  • Call for submissions open: March 1, 2021

  • Deadline for submissions: April 19, 2021

  • Jury review: April 1-April 30, 2021

  • Winners notified: May 15, 2021

  • Public Announcement and Ceremony: June 19, 2021



1st place: $2,000

2nd place: $1,500

3rd place: $500

Winners will be announced on Juneteenth (June 19, 2021)

No entry fee required. Work is judged by the Art of Equality guidelines so please be sure to review them before beginning. Art of Equality does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in its programs and contests.


1 Submission per person


Entries accepted from

March 1- March 31, 2021



Announced on

Juneteenth, 2021 (June 19)

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