'Drop the Mic' Poetry Slam | MLK 50

Drop the Mic Poetry Symposium & Slam


The Drop the Mic Symposium and Slam is a two-day event designed to engage youth and young adults in poetry as an activist art form.  In the 50th year since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, the museum continues to emphasize the issues King pursued in the last years of his life. It’s time for us to use our voice. It’s time to really push “Freedom Forward.” As this year’s theme, we want artists to unapologetically use your artwork to address questions like:

  • “In today’s climate, what does it mean to be free?”
  • “How is your freedom being threathened or denied.”
  • “How do I take back my rights?”
  • “How do I push Freedom Forward for others?”

The intent is to not only serve as a platform of expression, but also as a forum for creative solutions on important issues.

The occasion kicks 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 are open to anyone who is serious about enhancing their creativity and engagement as a poet, spoken word artist or community activist.

The Slam, the big event, is on Saturday, August 18. The competition will feature poetry finalists performing original works before an audience and a judging panel with a chance to win up to $1500, $1,000 or $750 in three age categories. The judges will determine the winner from points earned during the performances. A few prominent, non-competing poets and musicians will also perform. The Slam is free and hosted by a performer or media personality.