2015 Selma Essay Contest Winners

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the National Liberty Museum was thrilled to host an award ceremony that marked the culmination of the national Selma Speech & Essay Contest, made possible thanks to grant funding from the John Templeton Foundation and in-kind charitable gifts from Paramount Pictures.

 

Out of almost 800 submissions from 43 states, twelve finalists were chosen, and the top three – Ifeoma White-Thorpe, Evan Lehmann, and Edan Armas – were welcomed to the National Liberty Museum for the Selma Award Ceremony.

The ceremony kicked off with a spectacular red carpet welcome for the students, who were accompanied by their family members and their adult sponsors who guided them throughout the contest.

As the students entered the Museum, former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford rang the NLM Liberty Bell to start the ceremony. Senator Wofford was an original Selma marcher and adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr.

NLM CEO Gwen Borowsky then welcomed the Girard College Cavalier Band & Choir (directed by former Teacher as Hero winner, Paul Eaton). The students set an inspirational tone for the day with their moving rendition of “Glory.” Next, guests watched special remarks from SELMA actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay.

The ceremony was hosted by KYW news reporter Cherri Gregg, who welcomed Senator Wofford to speak about his experience in Selma, as well as his work with Dr. King. Senator Wofford went on to tell the students what an inspiration they are: “Mr. Armas, Mr. Lehmann, and Miss White-Thorpe, you have used your voices to speak about individual freedom and self-determination in a way that would have made Dr. King proud.”

Cherri Gregg explained to the audience that while the students knew they were in the top three, none of them knew what place they had actually won. Ms. Gregg then invited each student to the stage, where they shared their inspiration and gave their speeches. Before making the big announcement, the students were surprised with recorded messages of support and congratulations from their schools. Then, it was finally time to learn who would be taking home the grand prize of $5,000. Edan Armas was named the third place winner, and then came the biggest surprise of the day – Gwen Borowsky announced that Evan and Ifeoma tied for first place! Each student scored identically to one hundredth of a point!

After each student received their prize, Deputy City Representative Elka Battle read a proclamation from Mayor Nutter proclaiming April 21, 2015 “Voices of Liberty Day.”


Do you know a young person who deserves special recognition?

We are now accepting nominations for our 2019 TD Bank Young Heroes Award. This honor recognizes young people who have taken action to make positive social change in their schools and communities. To learn more and submit a nomination, please click here. The nomination deadline is July 14.

Nominations for the 2019 Awards of Valor are NOW OPEN

This annual awards program, presented by YOUR LOCAL CHEVROLET DEALERS, honors police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other emergency responders for extraordinary acts of courage, empathy, and meritorious service. We are now accepting nominations for the 2019 Awards. If you know a person deserving of this special recognition, please tell us about them. The deadline to submit a nomination is July 31,

Chevrolet supports first responders. Learn more.

Welcome the Stranger Exhibit

Welcome the Stranger, a one-woman exhibit of cast glass, ceramics, and mixed media by artist Micaela Amateau Amato, will be on display in our GlassAccess Gallery from March 9 - June 9, 2019. This collection of works is Amato's interpretation of modern and historic figures who rose like “superheroes” to accept seemingly impossible challenges of liberty. Shown here are cast glass sculptures of Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Learn more about this exhibit by clicking here.

Liberty Forum: Firearms

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, May 15 at 7:00pm for the first in this new series that brings attendees from all points of view together. We will discuss the issue of firearms with our Moderator Intersect Alliance, along with invited experts and other participants. Our goal is to provide attendees with the tools needed for moving our conversations on hot button issues, like this, offline and back into human discussions.

Learn more and reserve your place today by clicking here.

Read and Romp

Join us with your little learner, ages 2-6, for Read & Romp, an exciting hour of imaginative storytelling, interactive games, and creative crafts in the Museum’s galleries. Read & Romps are held twice a week, on Monday and Saturday mornings. Learn about the “story of the week” and choose the day that works best for you! Snacks and Museum admission are included.

Check our events calendar for upcoming Read & Romps.

Lila Liberty's Hero Quest

Join Lila Liberty on her quest to spread acceptance and kindness by helping her collect her "Super Hero Gadgets" throughout the Museum. This self-guided experience will encourage your child to understand how qualities like empathy, integrity, responsibility, and courage define what it means to be a Hero.

Lila Liberty’s Hero Quest is available between 12-5:00pm every Saturday and Sunday. It is included in the cost of admission. Learn more.