We’re announcing the Flocabulary contest winners and finalists for Black History Month 2023! In honor of Black History Month, we invited students to be the researchers, lyricists, and rappers. Students from across the country selected under-recognized Black historical figures for their song lyrics. This year, we received over 450 submissions from teachers and parents on behalf of their students!
Want to bring relevant resources into your classroom? Use these lessons to explore Black historical figures and events year-round.
What is Flocabulary’s Black History Month contest?
This contest is the perfect way to practice culturally responsive teaching and elevate student voice while inviting students to research and write about Black historical figures. The Black History Month Rap Contest is part of a series of student contests hosted by Flocabulary and Nearpod that serve to uplift underrepresented histories and student voice. Flocabulary also hosts a student contest for Hispanic Heritage Month to highlight Hispanic history and voices. Each event inspires and connects students to the world around them and their identities and interests.
Ten finalists from elementary and secondary grades were asked to send a video of themselves performing their songs. The two winning students will have their lyrics turned into a Flocabulary lesson, be featured in the lesson video, and meet the rappers and artists contributing to the lesson.
Black History Month Contest 2023: Meet the winners and finalists
Take a look at this year’s 2023 winners’ and finalists’ creative and talented entries!
Elementary School Winner: Isabella Vasquez from Santa Rosa City Schools in CA on Sojourner Truth
“Have you ever heard of Sojourner Truth
A freedom fighter even from her youth
With courage, persistence, and a moral compass,
Sojourner Truth was a hero of justice!”
Secondary School Winner: Arcadio Torres from Hoboken Public School District in NJ on Frederick Douglass
“In 1845 he’d write his first novel
An autobiography about slavery, self titled
The goal was to provide some insight
To change the mind of some of the whites”
Elementary School Finalists
Luca Tomon from Douglass Colonial School District in PA on Frederick Douglass
“Breaking their backs
Just cause they’re black
Slave owners on the attack,
If slaves get sold they’ll just be bought back.
But Frederick Douglass,
He made a change,
Fought through the pain,
He escaped and changed his name”
Kamal Fisher from Santa Rosa City Schools in CA on Vivien Thomas
“He was a black man who enjoyed education
He was praised for his great skill and obligation
Whizzing through his classes, especially anatomy
Was destined to be one of the best doctors in the country”
Nikki Agarwal from West Windsor-Plainsboro School District in NJ on Coretta Scott King
“So she moved on taking responsibility
She formed and co-chaired the full employment national committee
She was a leading participant in the American Civil Rights Movement
She helped a lot and made a big improvement”
Riley Underhill from Wake County Public School System in NC on Claudette Colvin
“By sitting down she took a stand,
part of the reason why segregation was banned.
She knew it was dangerous, and she was probably scared,
but she stood for what she believed, you gotta understand.
She made a difference, she changed our lives, she’s part of the reason,
America now thrives.”
Secondary School Finalists
Nadiya Kabugu from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in TX on Ida B. Wells
“We as Black people have rights
the roots deep down inside us stand tall and bright
Ida B. Wells had the courage to fight.
She let her tongue fly and speak with all of her might”
Daniel Levashki from Monroe Township School District in NJ on Shirley Anita Chisholm
“To this day, my works are still evolving,
providing inspiration and key knowledge.
I showed at times that were rough,
that you were more than enough.”
Tyler Banton from Philadelphia, PA on Phillis Wheatley
“Phillis Wheatley resonating with so much purity,
writing with such surety in her poetry.
Sold into slavery as a youngster,
learning to read and write without a blunder.”
Congratulations to all of the Flocabulary contest winners and finalists!
Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry. The learning shouldn’t stop when Black History Month ends; these themes and topics enrich cross-curricular learning all year round. Keep the conversation going by using the lessons linked on the contest page, or watch past winners and finalists’ rap videos.