Remembering John J. Creighton by honoring Harriet Tubman

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John Jefferson Creighton

CAMBRIDGE — On May 26, 2015, John Jefferson Creighton, noted historian departed this world. John played an instrumental part in the national, state and local initiatives about life stories of Harriet Tubman. His research and knowledge about the geographic areas were invaluable that led to the creation of the driving tour brochure and the two exhibit panels of Finding A Way To Freedom of 26 sites relevant to the life of Harriet Tubman in Dorchester and Caroline counties.

Many government agencies, organizations and individuals consulted him on many projects. To commemorate his commitment to the Harriet Tubman movement and his love of Dorchester the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Community History Interpretive Project (HT/CHIP) with several other organizations are announcing and sponsoring an essay contest for 9th-12th high school students who live in Dorchester County.

In the summer of 1972 John prepared a short unit on Tubman for his fall classes in English & social studies. He was teaching at North Dorchester High School. After reading all he could in the local library, John spent several days with a relative in New York City where at the Harlem branch of the New York Public Library, he read the research notes and correspondences left by Tubman’s principal biographer, Earl Conrad. He said in 1978 “As a sometime writer, I realized right away that not only did I have some ‘high interest’ material for my classes, but also the germ of a potentially good article, if not a short book about Harriet Tubman.”

The topic of the essay “Why Harriet Tubman Should or Should not Be on the $20 Bill” will encourage students to learn about the rich diversity of individuals who played a critical part in Dorchester history. The essay should be a minimum of 200 or 250 words.

On March 10, 2017, Harriet Tubman Day, the three top winners will read their essays at the Harriet Tubman Banquet. The top winners of the essay contest will receive US Savings Bonds. 1st prize, $500; 2nd prize, $250; 3rd prize, $150. The (10) prizes will be awarded to honorable mentions students who exhibited special efforts in writing their essays.

Poetry and prose entries are not permitted. All entries will be collected by Feb. 1, 2017. The top winners will be notified 10 days in advance of the presentation of the awards. The students must include their name, address, topic, school name, grade and date submitted. The selectioncommittee will be made up of representatives from the Dorchester Historical Society, TheStanley Institute, and the Harriet Tubman Organization.

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