naacp black history month speech

5th Annual Ivory Tillman Black History Speech Competition 
Hosted by the NAACP Jacksonville Branch 

About the Program:  February is dedicated as Black History Month. During this month,
we honor the triumphs and struggles of famous African Americans. Notably, the history
makers are highlighted because of their achievements during the civil rights movement
and beyond. African Americans have made significant contributions to America and the
rest of the world in the fields of science, politics, law, sports, the arts, entertainment, and
many other fields.

While Black History Month is synonymous with prominent figures such as Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson,
Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou, there are countless other African Americans who
have made a profound impact in history. For example, self-made millionaire Madam C.J.
Walker, world-renowned sculptor Edmonia Lewis, carbon filament light bulb inventor
Lewis Howard Latimer, open-heart surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, science-fiction writer
Octavia E. Butler, and "Father of Black History" Carter G. Woodson, all made noteworthy
impacts in our history.

Contest rules: To apply for the black history speech competition, the contestant must
be a Kindergarten thru 12th grade student enrolled in any school in Pulaski
County, Arkansas. The contestant’s parent or guardian’s signature is required.

Application open date: January 16, 2024
Deadline to register: February 12, 2024 by 5:00 pm

Question and Answer Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00 pm *This
session is open to contestants and parents. We will be available to assist with
questions and the preparation of the speeches. A Zoom link will be sent once the application is received.

Competition Rules and Logistics
Topic/Person: Each contestant is free to select a famous African American of their
choice. *However, the contestant may NOT choose (Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.,
Rosa Parks, or Harriett Tubman). Contestants must think outside the normal
history lesson and compose a biographical speech based on the life and legacy of
an African American.

Length: Speeches must be 2-3 minutes for K-8th, 3-5 minutes for 9th-12th.

Speaking Note Cards: Index cards or note cards may be used by elementary
contestants ONLY. *Note cards are NOT allowed for middle and high school
level contestants.

Judging Criteria: Contestants will be judged on 1. Content 2. Organization 3.
Creativity 4. Public Speaking/Clarity 5. Overall Effectiveness
Contestants must perform the biographical speech in front of a panel of judges, other
contestants, and community members. Content should be relevant and in good taste.
All speeches must be the original work of the student. Contestants are encouraged
to dress up and use props.

Grade Levels Classification:

  • K through 2nd grade
  • 3rd through 5th grade
  • 6th through 8th grade
  • 9th through 12th grade 

Click HERE to print application. 

Mail completed applications to: Kendrick Lusk, NAACP - Jacksonville

Branch, PO Box 6444, Jacksonville, AR 72078, or email applications to

For additional information contact Kendrick Lusk at 254-258-9434.