BALTIMORE (WJZ) — WJZ was proud to air the Black History Oratory Competition Saturday where 18 students from across the state gave powerful speeches based on quotes from significant figures in Black History.

This year’s winner was Nefertiti Griffin, a Junior at River Hill High School.

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In second place was Teni Adedire, a Freshman at Eastern Technical High School.

In third place was Taylor Mason, a Senior at North Harford High School.

 

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The first place winner will get $700 from WJZ and a $2,000 scholarship gift from Toyota Financial Services. The second place winner will get $400 from WJZ and $1,000 scholarship gift from Toyota Financial Services and the third place winner will get $200 from WJZ and $500 scholarship gift from Toyota Financial Services.

Students chose one of these quotes and described what it meant to them in 600 words or less:

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything… that smacks of discrimination or slander.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm

Watch all the finalists’ speeches here:

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This year’s competition is sponsored by Enoch Pratt Free Library, Morgan State University, Toyota Financial Services, Reginald F. Lewis Museum and WJZ.

CBS Baltimore Staff