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University of Texas at Austin
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Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition

Founded in 1995 as an event sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin, the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition moved to its new home with UIL Academics in 2011-2012. The competition provides students an opportunity to explore the contributions of African Americans to Texas history, as well as honoring the legacy of its namesake, Barbara Jordan.

Competition Theme

African Americans in Texas: Past and Present

Essays should focus on individuals or groups who are not well-known figures but who have made positive, significant contributions to African American history or culture in Texas. Students should look first to their local communities for possible essay topics.

Entry Deadline

February 14, 2024

Entries will be submitted electronically. All essays received on or before February 14, 2024, that meet the basic requirements of the competition will be entered for judging.

General Guidelines

• Essay with a word count between 1,500 and 2,500 words.

• Research paper format - MLA format or APA format recommended

• Source citations and bibliography required

• Essays should display original research; use of primary sources and interviews strongly encouraged

Competition Structure and Awards

• Any student in grades 9-12 who attends a UIL member high school is eligible to enter

• Open division structure - all entries that meet basic requirements will be included in essay judging

• Judges will evaluate each entry and provide comments that will be returned to contestants

• Judges will nominate essays to be considered as state finalists

• A selection committee will determine state finalists from among the nominees

• All state finalists will be invited to attend Academic State Meet in May, where state awards will be presented

• All state finalists will become eligible to apply for Texas Interscholastic League Foundation scholarships