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Press Release

Monday, December 21, 2009

Governor's Press Office
(850) 488-5394

Governor Crist Announces 2010 Black History Month Contests
Encourages Florida students and teachers to participate, win awards of college scholarships, prizes

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today announced Florida’s Black History Month “African-American Art – A Look at Our Past; A Glimpse into Our Future” Web site and invited students in kindergarten through 12th grades to participate in the Florida Black History Month art contests. The Governor also invited students, parents, teachers and principals to nominate full-time African-American educators in elementary, middle or high schools for the Black History Month Excellence in Education Award.

“Black History Month is a great opportunity to educate Floridians about the challenges and triumphs of African-Americans throughout history,” Governor Crist said. “The cultural contributions to our state and country continue to leave a lasting legacy of strength, determination and pride.”

This year’s contests incorporate artwork from The Kinsey Collection: The Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, currently on display at The Mary Brogan Museum in Tallahassee. Bernard Kinsey and Shirley Kinsey, Florida public school and Florida A&M University graduates, have been collecting art for more than thirty-five years.

About the Student Contests

Art Contest for Grades K-3

The Black History Month art contest is open to all Florida students in grades K-3, and two winners will be selected. Art submissions should address the following topic: Based on Claude Clark’s painting “Guest House,” think of a building that is special to you, your school, a neighborhood recreation center, or your own home and draw, paint, sketch or make a collage of that special building. One sentence describing the special building should be included at the bottom of the picture. The sentence can be handwritten or typed. Winners will receive a gift card. Please visit to download complete guidelines and entry forms.

Essay Contest for Grades 4 - 12

The Black History Month essay contest is open to all 4th through 12th grade students in Florida. Three winners will be selected: one elementary (4-5) student, one middle (6-8) student, and one high school (9-12) student. Winners will receive a full four-year tuition scholarship to a Florida college or university of their choice, provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Essays submitted by fourth and fifth graders should address the following topic: With Ernie Barnes’ “Beach Runner” painting in mind, choose a present day African-American role model in your community or in Florida and describe how this person has affected your community or you personally.

Middle school and high school essays should address the following topic: In Ernie Barnes’ painting “Beach Runner,” the subject appears to be running with freedom, strength and endurance towards an unseen purpose. Like the runner, you have also been given choices and opportunities. As a student your education is one way to achieve your goals. Think of your own personal aspirations and in your essay describe your goals and how those goals will contribute to a brighter future for yourself and your community.

Please visit to download complete guidelines and entry forms.

Podcast Contest for Grades 4-12

The Black History Month podcast contest is open to all 4th through 12th grade students in Florida. Based on the Ernie Barnes’ painting “Beach Runner,” podcasts should address one of the following topics:
  • Setting Goals A: The runner in the painting appears to have a set goal and purpose in mind. What do you think the runner is running towards? Where do you think the runner is going? Is it an actual place or an ideal? Animate the runner’s journey and show the final destination.
  • Setting Goals B: Being successful in school involves setting goals and striving to meet them. Create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) sharing tips about how to be successful in school.
  • Determination: The runner in the painting seems determined to keep running. Describe through audio or video an example of a time you were determined to meet a goal.
  • History: The footprints on the beach may represent those who have already “run the race,” such as civil rights leaders, African-American heroes and present day role models. Describe through audio or video the significant contributions of others that make the runner’s goals attainable.
  • Freedom: The runner appears to have the freedom and ability to make independent life choices. Describe through audio or video what events in black history empowered the runner to experience this freedom.

Three winning podcasts will be selected: one elementary (4-5) entry, one middle (6-8) entry, and one high school (9-12) entry. Groups of up to three students are invited to submit digital videos in DVD format. The teacher of the winning student groups will win a software package to be used in the classroom.

Please visit to download complete guidelines and entry forms.

About the Excellence in Education Award

Governor Crist’s annual Black History Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to all African-American, full time educators in an elementary, middle or high school in Florida. Three winners will be selected: one elementary (K-5) teacher, one middle school (6-8) teacher and one high school (9-12) teacher. Winners will receive a check prize.


  • Nomination forms must be mailed to Executive Office of the Governor: Excellence in Education Award Committee, 400 S. Monroe Street, Suite LL-10, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, by 5:00 p.m. EST, January 22, 2010. Forms can be found at
  • Nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent or student.

About The Kinsey Collection

The Kinsey Collection: The Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey highlights historically and culturally significant African-American art and artifacts. The exhibit features works of art by important African-American artists such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, and Henry O. Tanner; as well as historical documents and artifacts of Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Alain Locke, Phillis Wheatley, and Malcolm X. When viewed as a whole, the collection chronicles the contributions of African-Americans from the 1600s to the present. The Kinsey Collection is a public-private partnership and will be on display at The Mary Brogan Museum in Tallahassee until March 21, 2010, before it travels to The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

About Black History Month

Black History Month celebrates Florida’s African-Americans who have made significant contributions to the development of our state. Beginning with the establishment of St. Augustine, the earliest European settlement in Florida, African-Americans have frequently had to overcome great adversity, yet have held key roles in Florida’s cultural, economic and academic growth.

Essay contest winners and award-winning teachers will be notified by February 20, 2010. Awards will be presented at the Governor’s annual Black History Month reception celebration in Tallahassee.

Additional information about Florida’s black history, contests and other related events, please visit