WJZ’s Black History Oratory Competition 2020 Rules


  1. How to Enter the Competition:
  • WJZ’s Black History Oratory Competition will begin on January 1, 2020 at 12:01am and end on January 31, 2020 at 12:01am. Competition is sponsored by Enoch Pratt Free Library, Morgan State University, Toyota Financial Services, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, and WJZ.
  • WJZ’s Black History Oratory Competition is open to students in grades 9-12 residing in Maryland. Minors must have the approval of parent or legal guardian.

To participate in the competition, entrant will choose from one of three quotes listed below and express in an original essay of 600 words or less, typed and double spaced, what it means to them. Entrant must fill out an application form available at WJZ, 3725 Malden Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21211; or at http://www.wjz.com and email it along with the essay to oratory@wjz.com or mail it along with the essay to:


2020 Black History Oratory Competition


3725 Malden Avenue

Baltimore, MD 21211

All entries must be RECEIVED by January 31, 2020 at 11:59pm.

  • One entry per person. Essay must contain an opening thesis supported by examples and a conclusion. Eligible quotes are:

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”  Oprah Winfrey

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”  Audre Lorde

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”   Booker T. Washington

  • Sponsors are not responsible for late, lost, stolen, mangled, misdirected, misaddressed, postage due, incomplete, or illegible entries.

Sponsors are not responsible for technical or computer failures, errors or data loss of any kind, lost or unavailable internet connections, or failed, incomplete, garbled or deleted computer or network transmissions, inability to access any web site or on-line service, or any other error or malfunction, or late, lost, illegible or misdirected entries. Entry materials that have been tampered with or altered are void. If the judges determine, in their sole discretion, that there is any suspected or actual electronic tampering with the Competition or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Competition, the judges reserve the right to void the entries at issue and/or terminate the Competition and conduct a random drawing to award the prize among all eligible entries received as of the termination date. If the Competition is terminated due to tampering or technical difficulties prior to its expiration date, notice will be posted at http://www.wjz.com. If, for any reason, the Competition is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition, Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant that tampers with the operation of the Competition or website or violates the Official Rules of the Contest.

By use of this website and by entering the Competition, you agree to the Station’s Web Site Terms of Use Agreement and to the use of your personal information as described in the Privacy Policy located at: http://www.wjz.com.

  • Broadcasts are subject to preemptions and scheduling changes. If such changes occur, they will be posted on the WJZ’s website.
  • Entry deemed made by holder of e-mail account.
  • Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries.
  1. Eligibility Restrictions:

(a)        The competition is open to students in grades 9-12 residing in Maryland. Employees of WJZ, CBS Corporation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Toyota Financial Services, Morgan State University, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, other television and radio stations in the Baltimore market, and their affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising agencies and their immediate family members and persons living in the same household are ineligible to participate or win.

(b)        Viewers are eligible to win a WJZ competition only once every sixty days. Only one winner per household is permitted in any competition. Viewers are eligible to win a prize valued at $600.00 or more only once every six months. Past winners in the WJZ Black History Oratory Contest/Competition are ineligible to participate.

(c)        All entries become the sole property of Station and will not be returned. By entering, entrants agree to abide by these rules, and warrant and represent that their entry is their original work.

(d)        Contestants are required to provide truthful information and the Station will reject and delete any entry that it discovers to be false or fraudulent. The Station will disqualify any entry from individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements, and the Station will also delete any entry received from persons under the age of 13.

  1. Prizes:

(a)        From WJZ: $700 First Place prize; $400 Second Place prize; $200 Third Place prize.

(b)        From Toyota Financial Services: First Place $2000 Scholarship Gift Card, Second Place $1000 Scholarship Gift Card, Third Place $500 Scholarship Gift Card.

(c)        Twenty semi-finalists in the WJZ Black History Oratory Competition will present their live orations on Sunday, February 23, 2020 beginning at 1pm at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202. The snow date is March 8, 2020.

(d)        All prizes or prize certificates may be picked up at the office of WJZ, 3725 Malden Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21211. Any prize or prize certificate not claimed within fifteen (15) days of winning will be forfeited by the winner. In the event that a prize or prize certificate is mailed to the winner, it will be with the prior written consent of the winner and therefore, winner assumes the risk of its arrival. WJZ is not responsible for the safe arrival of a prize or prize certificate.

(e)        Competition prizes are not transferable. Prizes may not be substituted for or redeemed for cash. Station reserves the right to substitute prize of comparable value.

  1. Selection of Winners:

(a)        Decisions of competition sponsors with respect to the contest are final.

(b)        All essays received will be judged 50% on relevance to the theme, 40% on creativity, and 10% on compliance with these rules (e.g. does essay contain an opening thesis supported by examples and a conclusion.) Judges, comprised of representatives of WJZ and sponsors, will select up to 20 Semi-Finalists based on this judging to make oral presentation. Semi-Finalists will be notified by mail, e-mail or telephone.

(c)        In the event of a tie, the essays with the same score will be re-judged on the same criteria.

(d)        Twenty Semi-Finalists will be selected to present their memorized orations on Sunday, February 23, 2020 beginning at 1pm at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD. (Snow date March 8, 2020.) Judges will review presentations based on 20% creativity including correct dates and historical references, 20% relevance to theme, 10% compliance to these rules, plus 50% delivery of speech – specifically the presentation performance should include voice inflection, cadence, body language, gestures, and eye contact that demonstrate that the orator understands the meaning of the quote. In the event of a tie, the presentations with the same score will be re-judged on the same criteria. The top first, second and third place winners will be selected from the twenty Semi-Finalists.

  1. Conditions:

(a)        Payment of all federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner and winners may receive an IRS Form 1099 or equivalent from Station.

(b)        By participating in the competition, the winners (or, in the case of a minor, their parent/legal guardian) agree to have their name, voice, or likeness used in any advertising or broadcasting material relating to this contest, and to sign a publicity release, affidavit of eligibility and release of liability prior to acceptance of the prize. Prize may be awarded to the minor’s parent or legal guardian. By accepting the prize, each winner grants to Station the right to use the winner’s name, voice, picture and/or likeness for purposes of advertising and publicity in any and all media now known or hereafter invented, without further permission or additional compensation (except where prohibited by law). All expenses on receipt and use of prize are the sole responsibility of winner. Winners, by acceptance of their prizes, agree to release Station, CBS, their respective parents and subsidiaries, and their respective advertising, promotion and production agencies from any and all liability, claims or actions of any kind whatsoever for injuries, damages or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership or use of the prize or while preparing for, participating in, and/or traveling to any prize-related activity.

  1. Competition sponsors reserve the right to make changes in the rules of the competition which will become effective upon announcement.
  2. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other errors in the printing, the offering or the administration of the contest or in the announcement of the prize.
  3. Failure to comply with the competition rules may result in a contestant’s disqualification.
  4. To obtain a copy of the official rules and/or winner’s list, please write by March 31, 2020.

WJZ’s Black History Oratory Competition Rules


3725 Malden Avenue

Baltimore, MD 21211