• The poem must be an original work with content, creativity and interpretation of the theme "Where Do We Go from Here?"  The theme is named from Dr. King's final book and speech delivered at the 10th anniversary of the SCLC Conference in 1967. Contemporary issues explored during the MLK50 commemoration year are poverty, justice, quality education, peace, decent housing and good jobs with higher wages as a method to honor Dr. King’s legacy and actively achieve the positive social change he sought to address in his last years.  
  • Videos must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. The link to the video should be added to the online entry form:
  • Videos should be clearly audible (no high-speed rantings, please) and attention grabbing in 2.5 minutes (150 seconds) or less.
  • The contest entry form must be complete or it will be disqualified. Finalists information will be verified.
  • Video and entry form must be received by July 25, 2017. No late entries will be accepted.
  • Only one (1) video submission per contestant will be considered. Contestants with multiple entries will be disqualified.
  • Contestant must be between the ages 14-35 by the submission deadline of July 25, 2017.
  • All contestants must be available to perform in Memphis, TN on August 19, 2017. The National Civil Rights Museum is not responsible for travel accommodations of finalists selected to perform.
  • Contestants age 17 and under by the July 25, 2017 deadline must have permission from a parent or guardian if they are a finalist selected to compete in the slam. Permission forms should be submitted by August 1. Click here to download parental waiver/release form.


  • Slam videos are judged on the performance and content of the poem as it relates to the theme, "Where Do We Go from Here?"
  • From July 27 to 30, finalists will be selected and invited to perform their piece at the National Civil Rights Museum's Drop the Mic Poetry Slam on August 19, 2017.
  • Finalists will be notified via email by July 30.
  • Finalists must be present at the Minglewood Hall for the Drop the Mic Poetry Slam on August 19, 2017.