SOURCE: National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

May 11, 2017 09:39 ET

Museum Launches MLK50 Drop The Mic Poetry Slam & Symposium Nationwide Call For Submissions and Workshop Proposals

The Focus is on Dr. King's platforms from Where Do We Go From Here?

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - May 11, 2017) - The National Civil Rights Museum is inviting young poets and spoken word artists nationwide to qualify to compete in its MLK50 Drop the Mic Poetry Slam on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 5pm. Additionally, there is a call for poetry/spoken word workshop facilitators for this year's Symposium on Friday, August 18.

The MLK50 Drop the Mic Poetry Slam and Symposium is designed for creatives to use their art for activism by taking a stand on important social issues today based on the foundations of the Civil Rights Movement of our past. This is the fourth year the Museum has hosted the Poetry Slam, but as part of the yearlong MLK50 Commemoration, the event is launching a two-day experience. With the Symposium on the first day, the intent is to not only serve as a platform of expression, but also as a forum for creative solutions on important issues. Organizations working to bring about positive social change will be invited to raise awareness and help artists bridge the gap between speaking "truth to power" and grassroots organizing and authentic activism.

"The Drop the Mic Poetry Slam has served to give a creative platform for artists through their poetry," said Faith Morris, Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer, National Civil Rights Museum. "It's one of the most extraordinary experiences seeing the original works of young poets expressing their sentiments on prevailing issues and activism through art. This time we're focused on 'Where Do We Go From Here' to effect positive social change. There's much to be said about this topic!"

Call for Poetry Slam Submissions

Qualifying poets and spoken word artists in the age categories of 14-17, 18-25 and 26-35 can compete for three top cash prizes: $1,500 first place, $1,000 second place, and $750 third place in each age group. As part of the MLK50 yearlong commemoration, the Drop the Mic Poetry Slam is a sanctioned event centered around the theme, "Where Do We Go from Here?" In his last years, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was focused on key social issues including poverty, justice, peace, decent housing, better jobs with higher wages and quality education -- issues we are still addressing today. Poetry slam winners may be invited to perform before a national audience during the MLK50 Commemoration in April 2018.

Slam submissions must be original works addressing the topic "Where Do We Go from Here?" Each entrant must submit a YouTube or Vimeo video link in their online entry form. Videos should be no longer than 2.5 minutes. Only one entry per person will be considered. All videos must be received by Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by 5pm.

The top finalists will be selected and must perform their submitted piece in front of a panel of judges during the poetry slam on Saturday, August 19, 5pm at Minglewood Hall in Memphis, TN. to win. For more information and to enter, visit the museum's Drop the Mic webpage.

Call for Workshop Proposals

During the daylong Symposium, a series of one-hour workshops for poets of all ages in the areas of mechanics, expression, branding, and the impact that this art has on the positive social change will be presented by facilitators who have worked to help artists enhance creativity and develop necessary skills to perform, compete or publish their work. To be selected to present, facilitators must submit proposals with an overview of their proposed workshop(s) including objectives, format, materials and engagement activities. Workshop collaborations with social activism and arts advocacy organizations is highly encouraged. Facilitators will receive a stipend for hosting a workshop.

Workshop proposal forms must be submitted by Monday, June 5, 2017 by 5pm. The top proposals will be selected and facilitators will be asked to digitally submit workshop plans, presentation and handouts at least two weeks in advance. The symposium workshops will be presented on Friday, August 18, between 9am and 5pm, at the National Civil Rights Museum. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the museum's website.

Workshop participants are not required to be slam contestants. Both the Symposium on August 18 and the Slam on August 19 are free and open to the public.

The hashtags for the MLK50 Drop the Mic Poetry Slam and Symposium are #NCRMDropTheMic, #MLK50NCRMuseum, and #WhereDoWeGoFromHere. Social media shares and posts are encouraged. For more information, visit

About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 80,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement, examine today's global civil and human rights issues, provoke thoughtful debate and serve as a catalyst for positive social change.

A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum was recognized as TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.

About Smithsonian Affiliations

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums and educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among the Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at

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