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Drop The Mic Poetry Slam & Symposium


The National Civil Rights Museum's 2018 Drop The Mic Poetry Slam and Symposium will be a TWO-DAY event this year.  Both the Symposium and the Slam are FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  Registration is strongly in encouraged.

As the museum continues to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 50th year since his death, we seek solutions to the issues he addressed in the last year's of his life.  To finish the work Dr. King started, now is the time to take a stand and use your voice. 

This year’s Drop the Mic theme, “Freedom Forward,” unapologetically pushes the envelope forward for artists and activists by delving into questions like:

  • In today’s climate, what does it mean to be free? 
  • How is our freedom being threatened or denied? 
  • What is my role as a young person in the movement to be free?
  • How do I take back my rights? 
  • What are the necessary resources for freedom?
  • How do I push Freedom Forward for others?

Poets use their words for enlightenment, healing, inspiration, and power.  Spoken word gives artists the platform to shine light on what is right and what is wrong, to use art for activism.

Poets have the opportunity to educate, bring awareness, to seize the moment and take it to the next level in answering the call to action to move #FreedomForward at the 5th Annual DropTheMic Poetry Slam.

the symposium

It kicked off with a free Symposium on Friday, August 17, at the Museum with workshops on key components on mechanics, expression, branding and the impact the art has on the community. The workshops were open to anyone who is serious about enhancing their creativity and engagement as a poet, spoken word artist or community activist.  


  • FREE & open to the public.  Dinner Served.
  • Workshops on Art as Activism, Technique & Forms of Poetry, Youth Voice & Activism, and The Business of Art/Writing
  • MasterClass with Ed Mabrey, four-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, teacher and comedian
  • Dinner Plenary & Keynote with J. Ivy, Chicago-based poet, actor and activist who rose to fame on HBO’s Def Poetry
  • Panel Discussion with featured artists J. Ivy, Bethsheba "Queen Sheba" Rem, Jonathan Samuel Eddie, Ed Mabrey and Carin "Writeous Soul" Malone 
  • Open Mic Session for workshop participants



the slam

The competition, the big event, is on Saturday, August 18, 2018. The Slam will feature poets performing original works before an audience and a judging panel for a chance to win cash prizes. The judges will determine the winner from points earned during the performances. A few non-competing poets and spoken word artists will perform at the event.


  • Poets ages 14-35 will compete in three age categories (14-17, 18-25 and 26-35) before a panel of judges
  • Each category will have 1st–3rd place winners of cash prizes up to $1500*
  • The Slam will be hosted by activist, teacher, author, comedian, playwright & founder of Poetry vs. Hip-Hop, Bethsheba "Queen Sheba" Rem.
  • Performances by featured artists J. Ivy, Carin “Writeous Soul” Malone, spoken word trio Writers’ Block, Ed Mabrey and Jasmine Mans
  • ARTivist Marketplace will include merchandise related to the poetry, plus other unique finds


  • 1ST PLACE: $1,500
  • 2ND PLACE: $1,000
  • 3RD PLACE: $750




Contact media@civilrightsmuseum.org.


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