BHM: Bettendorf H.S. students win essay contest

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:47 AM CST
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BETTERNDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - “Black Voices Matter,” is a group at Bettendorf High School organized by students.

Recently the group held a panel discussion about the content being taught for Black History Month, some students say their tired of being taught about the same black historical figures, like MLK, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman.

Some students say they want to learn about those figure along with current influential Black leaders.

The group also organized an essay contest for students to write about influential Black figures.

First place went to Freshmen Kaelee Wolf, she wrote about Donald L. Hollowell.

Hollowell is a prominent civil rights attorney, he represented Martin Luther King Jr. several times.

Wolf says she was shocked by one of Hollowell’s cases.

“And it was just really crazy to see that everybody who was there, everybody who was in the court room lied and they would have gotten away with it, if he hadn’t been there to defend, that made me really interested in just getting involved in black history month and learning more about it,” said Wolf.

Wolf won a cash price of $50 dollars for her essay, but she says the experience and knowledge she learned was more valuable.

In second place high school Junior, Eric Newton focused his essay on Dr. Charles Drew.

Dr. Drew was an American Surgeon and Medical Researcher.

Newton says he learned about Dr. Drew’s protest against the American Red Cross Blood Bank policy. The policy ruled blood of African Americans would be accepted but would have to be stored separately from white peoples.

“For reasons that are not biologically convincing, which are commonly recognized as physiologically important in America, like right then and there the authorities were recognizing that their racism had zero scientific ground, it was simply that they wanted to separate people on the basis of color despite having no actual reason to do so,” said Newton.

This policy was maintained by the American Red Cross until 1950, 9 years after Dr. Drew resigned as Director.

Newton won $25 for his essay.

The “Black Voices Matter’ group is looking to expand their organization to 8th graders.

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