2021 Voices in Black History Speech Competition

2021 Voices in Black History Speech Competition


Montgomery City-County Public Library celebrates the 9th Annual Voices in Black History Speech Competition. Contestants will research and present themselves as Black historical figures through Zoom live. 


Preliminaries & Final


Preliminaries: February 1 –12, 2021



Finals: February 26, 2021 at 6 pm




Submission deadline Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 11:59 pm.

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Details and Official Rules



Contestants will write and perform an original speech in character and costume of a Black historical figure.



  • Open to students in grades 3-12, who are residents of Montgomery County.
  • Participants must agree to be videoed, and photographed for the purpose of promoting the City of  Montgomery and MCCPL services and programs.
  • Individual submissions in the categories of 3rd–6th grade or 7th-12th grade.


  • Register at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ViBH
  • Registration with a bibliography/works cited must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm, Wednesday, January 27, 2021.
  • MCCPL is not responsible for any corrupted, lost, or undelivered entries.

Dates and Times:

  • Monday, January 4 – Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 11:59 pm– Registration
  • Monday, February 1– Friday, February 12, 2021 – Preliminary Competition – Zoom by Appointment
  • Monday, February 15 – Friday, February 19, 2021 – Speech Practice –  Zoom by Appointment  
  • Friday, February 26, 2021 at 6 pm – Final Competition –  Zoom live
  • Contestants should sign-in no later than 5:30 pm to Finals.

Official Rules:

  • Chosen historical figure cannot be changed once submitted.
  • Contestants will wear a costume and present the speech as the person they have chosen to become.
  • Speeches given about the person will have points deducted.
  • Visuals and props may be used but are not required.
  • Speeches and costumes that are racially insensitive and /or sexually provocative will be disqualified.
  • Individual contestant must research and write his or her own presentation. 
  • Speeches must be original. Participant cannot simply memorize a known work by their chosen person. 
  • Participants reading a speech from paper or electronic device will have points deducted.
  • Students may not be prompted or coached from the audience during their presentation.
  • Speech length shorter or longer than time allowed will have points deducted.
    • 3 to 5 minutes in length for 3rd-6th  grade
    • 4 to 7 minutes in length for 7th-12th grade
  • Presentations must be given live. Video recordings, screen shares, and PowerPoint are not acceptable.
  • A bibliography/works cited of reasearch materials used can be uploaded in the registration form as a pdf, doc, docx, png, jpg or jpeg format. Points will be deducted for no bibliography.


  • Speeches will be scored based on proficiency in the following categories:
    • Costume
    • Becoming the Person the Speech is About
    • Preparation
    • Eye Contact
    • Organization of Speech
    • Vocal Quality: Grammar, Diction, Voice
    • Presence
    • Level of Creativity
    • Presentation Length

Bibliography/works cited


· Research help: Call the Reference Department at (334) 625-4992

· Library: Check out some books! Library curbside service is open to pick up books placed on hold. Go to our catalog at mccpl.lib.al.us to place a book on hold. 

    • Look for books on
      • Biographies: Search by Historical Figures name
      • Costumes
      • Public Speaking
      • MLA, APA, or Chicago Style Manuals for Research Papers
  • Online Databases: Go to the Research/Learning tab and click Databases A-Z on mccpl.lib.al.us.
    • Databases to search for:
      • Gale Biography in Context
      • Encyclopedia of Alabama
      • Oxford African American Studies Center
      • Alabama Virtual Library: Alabama Mosaic Encyclopedias
  • Works Cited: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html


  • Prizes awarded to the top three in each of the following categories: 3rd-6th grade and 7th-12th grade.
    • 1st place: Dell Chromebook 3100
    • 2nd place: $100
    • 3rd place: $50
  • Contestants may only win in each category once. 
  • Winners announced at the Final and be notified by email.

Contest Contact:

· Questions regarding the contest and submission of content may be emailed to sfoster@mccpl.lib.al.us.

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