Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Literary and Visual Arts Contest

Martin Luther King Jr.

Arlington Public Schools students are invited to take part in the annual “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Visual Contest.”

Entries are due by 5 p.m. Friday, November 18, 2022. 

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This Year’s Topic

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke up for people who were being treated unfairly. Dr. King explained that it is our responsibility to do something when we see someone being treated unfairly because of their race, skin color or other identity, even if those people are not like us. He believed we should care about fairness for everyone. In his renowned essay “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” If we don’t speak up for all people who are treated unfairly, it has a negative effect on us all.


Describe in writing or visual art a time where you saw someone treated unfairly because of what they looked like or who they were; OR an event in history where people were treated unfairly because of what they looked like or who they were.


You must be a resident of Arlington County or enrolled in APS.

  • You must be in grade Kindergarten through 12.


Two awards will be given in each group:

  • Grades K, 1 and 2
  • Grades 3, 4, 5
  • Grades 6, 7, 8
  • Grades 9, 10, 11, 12

Each group will have two first-place winners and two runners-up in each category: Literary Arts Achievement (Writing or Poetry) and Visual Arts AchievementWinners will be announced on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. Students will be recognized by the Superintendent and members of the School Board on Thursday, Jan. 19 at the beginning of the School Board meeting.


  • Email your entry to mlkentries@apsva.us; include the form information, and the essay or poem as an attachment.


  • Drop off your entry with this form attached at an APS school in the front office, or at the Syphax building 1st floor Welcome Center, 2110 Washington Blvd.

For more information please contact Dawn Smith, Volunteer, Partnership and Events Manager, at 703-228-2581 or at mlkentries@apsva.us


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