Mclean Contributionship Educational Outreach Initiative

Calling All High School Students!

Announcing the Library Company of Philadelphia’s 1st Annual Amy Matilda Cassey Essay Contest

The Library Company’s Amy Matilda Cassey Essay Contest is an opportunity for high school students in the Greater Philadelphia region to reflect and interpret historical text within a contemporary context. High school students are invited to do research at the Library Company of Philadelphia or online through our digital collection and archive with support from our African Americana Specialist, Jasmine Smith.  Applicants are invited to submit an essay reflecting the annual theme which often coincides with the National History Day Theme. We are excited to announce that this year’s theme!

From Tragedy to Triumph: Black Girlhood in the Late 19th Century

A Case Study of the Sanders-Venning Family

Selected submissions including the winning essay will be announced and produced in a digital and/or print publication and circulated at the Juneteenth Freedom Seminar, featuring Dr. Ibram Kendi, Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.  Prize winners and selected applicants will have the opportunity to connect with Dr. Kendi at a reception directly preceding the formal presentation.

Winners will be chosen by a small committee of community experts in African American History.  The first prize winner will receive a $300 award, with a school award of $150. The second prize winner will receive a $150 award with a cash prize of $75. All applicants and their schools will be acknowledged at the Annual Juneteenth Freedom Seminar.

Click Here for the Resource Packet (PDF)

The Library Company of Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund

This program is supported in part by the Library Company’s McLean Contributionship Educational Outreach Initiative and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The McLean Contributionship Educational Outreach Initiative was funded through the Light and Liberty Endowment Campaign for the Program in African History.

The Program in African American History brings together scholars and interested members of the public to explore and discuss every aspect of the experience of people of African descent in the Americas from the beginnings of European colonization through 1900.  For more than forty years, the African Americana collections of the Library Company have helped nurture and sustain rich scholarship that has added dramatically to our knowledge and understanding of that experience—and public exhibitions, lectures, and programs have sought to involve the broadest possible audience.

To learn more about this essay contest, please contact the African American History Subject & Reference Librarian, Jasmine Smith at or 215-456-3181.