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The Civil Rights Memorial Center is partnering with bestselling author Kwame Alexander and the community to produce “A Community Poem,” a new exhibit that will be featured inside the museum when it reopens later this year. 

Members of the community are invited to submit an original poem around the themes of racial justice and human rights. Alexander will select lines from multiple submissions and combine them into one single community poem. The final poem, representing the combined work of multiple contributors across the United States, will be displayed on a digital screen in the final gallery of the Civil Rights Memorial Center. 

Anyone living in the United States can submit a poem for consideration. Submissions will be accepted from February 10-March 10, 2021

Entry Rules:

  • All entries must be the original work of the individual. If the poem is not written in English, a translation should be provided.
  • Participants must use the form below to submit their poem. Entries sent by mail, e-mail or any other method will not be considered.  
  • If you are a student in grades K-12 submitting a poem, you must be enrolled in a school (public, private or home school) in the United States. Students can enter on their own or have a parent or teacher submit their entry. 
  • A photo of the author must accompany the submission. 
  • Poem submissions should begin with the phrase “Remember” or “If you.” Here is an example:
      If you climb a lemon tree,
      feel its bark
      with your feet and knees,
      smell its white flowers,
      rub in your hands its leaves.
      the tree is older than you
      and in its branches,
      you might find stories.

      — Jennifer Clement
  • Your poem should be inspirational or informational. It should either honor or recognize the civil rights movement—past or present; encourage people to think about social injustices; document current civil and human rights issues; envision a better future for our country; or some combination of each. 
  • There is no limit on poem length.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021 


Bestselling author Kwame Alexander will select poems to be published for use in the Civil Rights Memorial Center and on the Southern Poverty Law Center website. All contributors will grant the Southern Poverty Law Center unlimited 'use' rights for their original work of art. The Southern Poverty Law Center will retain no copyright to your poetry. Such rights remain with the poet at all times.

Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: txt pdf doc docx.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png.
By initialing here, I certify that the poem I am submitting is an original work of art authored by me. I hereby grant the Civil Rights Memorial Center, a project of Southern Poverty Law Center, the unlimited right to use the poem including, without limitation, the right to reproduce, publicly display and perform, and distribute the poem.
By initialing here, I certify that I own all rights and title to the photograph of me that I am submitting. I hereby grant the Civil Rights Memorial Center permission to use, reproduce, publicly display and distribute my photograph for use in the Civil Rights Memorial Center.
Consent to Use Video Recording/Photography: Individuals over the age of 18 may inital for themselves; those under 18 must have this release initialed by their parent or guardian. By initialing here, I consent to the use of this recording/photography of my child/dependent/self, and/or any copies of this recording/photography in any editorial and/or promotional material produced and/or published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. I understand this release does not guarantee use of the recording/photography.