chantel-kristine-mackey_jordan-arterberry_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — Three students have been recognized for their essays on the subject of The Changing Era for African Americans in the United States and Abroad in the 1940s.

The theme ties in with the yearlong exhibit of Fabulous Forties on the Avenue at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC), 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

On March 14, Elaina Norlin, AARLCC executive director, welcomed in the library’s lobby their families and the winning participants in the 2012 Black History Month Essay Contest:

Category: Grades 4-6

Chantel Kristine Mackey, fifth grade, Nova Blanche Forman Elementary School. In her essay, Chantel wrote that “in the USA, jobs for African Americans were hard to find in northern and western industrial businesses. Still, this was better than trying to find a job in the South.” She also wrote that, “World War II took place during the 1940s. It opened up many industrial opportunities for women including African- American women.”

Category: Grades 7-9

Jordan Arterberry, eighth grade, Seminole Middle School. Jordan wrote that her grandpa had been part of World War II, along with “over 125,000 African American soldiers.” Her grandpa told her that “they had been put into separate tents even though they still fought the same war . . . and even after doing the same thing as the white people, fighting in the same war, they still came home and had to endure Jim Crow Laws and discrimination.”

Category: Grades 10-12

Junie Saint-Preux, 11th grade, Plantation High School. In her essay, Junie says, “Due to the overcrowded cities, the tension among the races grew. By 1943, this had led to race riots. In response, many communities had joined together to form committees in order to improve race relations.” She also writes, “Many black leaders had pressured President Roosevelt to ban ‘discrimination in the employment of workers in the defense industries or government.’ . . . In fact,” she says, “the war experience had emboldened the civil rights movement.”

After Norlin told the winning essayists that the theme was based on the library’s current exhibit, Kirk Harris, store manager of contest sponsor Best Buy in Davie and two store “ambassadors” were invited to the podium to hand out prizes to the students.

The Fabulous Forties on the Avenue exhibit depicts Northwest Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale during the late 1940s, a neighborhood that inspired generations of black families to push through the boundaries of segregation.

For more information call the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at 954-357-2810.