The Morgan Project Announces Conflict and Courage Challenge Scholarship Contest



The Morgan Project (TMP) is a nonprofit organization in Birmingham, Alabama. Our mission is to teach civil rights and social justice through Birmingham’s history of conflict and courage. The Morgan Project offers a curriculum, designed for grades 4, 6, 7 and 11, whose lessons and activities can be tailored to fit the schedules of different classrooms as well as  out-of-school  gatherings.

The Conflict and Courage  lesson plan focuses on two intertwined events in Birmingham  history that represent both concepts: the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, and the speech the next day, by a white lawyer to white businessmen of Birmingham, publicly condemning all of white Birmingham for letting years of racism and abuse go unpunished. The speech became a book, A Time To Speak, which the young lawyer, Charles Morgan, Jr., wrote after threats to his family led him to leave Birmingham.

Encouraging students to use their own critical-thinking skills, The Morgan Project’s “Conflict and Courage” guides students and listeners to understand that conflict is an inevitable part of improving society, and that knowing how to handle conflict is a necessary part of supporting a healthy community. A Time To Speak is part of the curriculum, walking students through the people in Birmingham, the bombing and its aftermath.

TMP proudly announces the launch of the Conflict and Courage Scholarship Contest. Students in grades 9 through 12 are eligible to enter. Submissions will be accepted from Feb. 15 through March 31. Winners will be announced no later than May 15, 2022. Prizes range from $750 to $1,500. Students are encouraged to choose from any of the essay topics below.

To learn more and donate to The Morgan Project, please visit For more information, contact Ashley Mann at (205) 317-9397 or ashley@

The Morgan Project is an educational effort based on Birmingham’s unique role in America’s civil rights movement. This scholarship contest is designed to help students reflect on the part they play in creating a better community for all.

Student Prizes:   

1st Place—$1,500.00

2nd Place—$1,000.00

3rd Place—$750.00

The Setting

On September 15, 1963, members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a bomb under the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four young girls and injured many more.

On September 16, 1963, a young lawyer named Charles Morgan, Jr., faced members of the Birmingham Young Men’s Business Club, a seat of power, and spoke up, saying what many did not want to hear.

Bombings in Birmingham were not new, but the violence that Sunday morning made national headlines — and so did the speech. Morgan was blunt: The fault, he said, lay not only with the people who planted the bomb — it lay also with people who had stayed quiet for many years of violence and unfair practices directed against Blacks.

“Who threw that bomb?” asked Morgan. “We all did.”

Like many in the civil rights movement, Morgan received death threats for his stance. He and his family were forced to leave Birmingham.

Conflict and Courage

The Morgan Project asks you to search for your own ideas and name your ideals. Would you take a stand, if you knew it was unpopular, even dangerous?

While much has changed since 1963, many of the same struggles exist. Morgan took a stand that was moral, even though most people — whether they agreed with him or not — kept quiet. How do some people have the wisdom to know right from wrong? Why do they have the courage to speak up? Why do others not speak up? Who can say what is right and what is wrong? Would you have the courage to speak up?

Challenge Topic: Choose from any of the following topics

Choose a personal experience that involved conflict or violence that led you to take an unpopular stand. Did you know it was not popular? Why did you take that stand? What were the consequences for you or friends and family? Did you expect those consequences? Did you regret your decision?

Choose a personal experience in which you went with what friends did, even though you did not think it was right. What did you learn, and how will it affect your actions in the future? Would you choose a different action today? 

Choose an event from the news of the past several years in which someone took an unpopular stand. Describe the conflict, and what acts you would have taken if you were there that reflected courage and why.

Choose an event from Birmingham’s past in which someone took an unpopular stand. Write why you think he or she did the right thing, what happened as a result, and what would have happened if he or she had not taken action. (Provide sources for information.)

Examine the history of a topic of racial justice and discuss its legacy/effect today. Essays should explain historical event(s) explain how the injustice/conflict persisted, and how courage was modeled and by whom.

Eligibility and Submission Requirements:

Students must be an Alabama student in grades 9-12.

Submissions can be written as an essay (500 to 2,000 words), a poem (up to 500 words) or as a podcast or short film (5 minutes maximum).

All submissions must be accompanied by the attached Conflict and Courage Challenge Certification Form and a student photo.

All submissions must be entirely the author’s original work. The Morgan Project may publish submissions, recognizing the author and high school.

All submissions will be judged by a panel on the strength of the answers to each of the questions presented in the essay contest topic. The judges’ selections are final.

Essays and poems should be typed. Podcasts and Short Films should be submitted as either an mp4 or mp3 file.

All submissions and certification forms must be submitted to 

Submissions should be received between Feb. 15 through March 31.

Prior to winners being announced, finalists will be asked to participate in either an in-person or virtual interview.

Winners will be announced no later than May 15, 2022.


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