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Equal Justice Initiative High School Essay Contest

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) is pleased to announce a scholarship contest open to all students grades 9-12 attending high school where prizes totaling $5000 will be awarded to winning participants.

The scholarship contest coincides with our forthcoming dedication of a marker in Jackson County, MO. The marker will memorialize Levi Harrington, an African American lynched in Jackson County on April 3, 1882. Scholarship winners will be announced and recognized at an event unveiling the historical marker at the end of November.

Guidelines for Entries

The history of racial inequality and economic injustice in America has created continuing challenges for all Americans. The lives of African Americans have been profoundly impacted by the era of slavery, the era of racial terror that continued from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 until World War II in the 1940s and 50s, the era of Jim Crow and racial apartheid that produced the civil rights movement, and the present-day era of mass incarceration. EJI has documented over 60 lynchings of African Americans in the State of Missouri, between 1877 and 1950. We believe that a deeper understanding about our nation’s history of racial injustice is important to addressing contemporary questions of social justice and equality.

For more information, or submit an essay click here.

If you have any questions about how to participate in the marker ceremony or joining in the effort, please contact Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) at If you have questions about the essay contest, please contact Gabrielle Daniels at the Equal Justice Initiative at

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