Seal of the  State of Connecticut, Office of the State Comptroller

STATE OF CONNECTICUT

NANCY WYMAN
COMPTROLLER

OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER
55 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT 06106-1775

MARK OJAKIAN
DEPUTY COMPTROLLER


WYMAN ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2008 BLACK HISTORY ESSAY CONTEST
Contact: Steve Jensen
860-702-3308/3301
Steven.Jensen@po.state.ct.us

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today announced the results of her eighth annual Little Known Black History Fact Essay Contest.

The event is open to high school juniors and seeks to explore facts about black history that are not well known. It is sponsored by the Office of the State Comptroller with the support of New Alliance Bank, Bank of America and People's Bank. Winners receive U.S. Savings Bonds of between $1,000 and $100.

"The research and writing by these students is not only educational for them and for all of us, but is a tribute to a very important part of American heritage,"Wyman said. "I am delighted to honor them."

This year's judges were Dorsey Kendrick, President of Gateway Community Technical College; Charles Tisdale, Exec. Dir., Action Bridgeport Community Development Agency; Henry Hartie, of the Hartford Human Relations Commission; Yvette Melendez, Chief of Staff, Connecticut University System and Karin Edwards, Three Rivers Community Technical College.

Comptroller Wyman will present the awards to the winners and their families at events scheduled in the coming weeks.

This year's winners are:

1) Shanna Allison/Waterbury Magnet Arts School, who wrote about In Dahomey, the first musical on Broadway written by and starring African-Americans. The 1903 production by Bert Williams and George Walker follows the story of a group of African- Americans who find a pot of gold and use their fortune to travel to Africa. The show, Shanna wrote, was a significant move "away from the degrading minstrel stereotypes and closer to actual characterizations of African-Americans."

2) Daniel Felizardo/Danbury High School, whose essay outlined the life of Peter Salem, a former slave who went on to become a famous solider in the Massachusetts Minutemen for his courageous fighting in many of the crucial battles of the Revolutionary War.

3) Kristin Miller/Waterbury Arts Magnet School, who wrote about Patricia Bath, an eye surgeon who in 1988 became the first African-American woman to receive a patent for a medical invention; a laser device used to remove cataracts.

4) Paulo Oliveira/John F. Kennedy High School, Waterbury, whose essay was about Daniel Hale Williams, a surgeon who in 1893 performed the first open-chest cavity operation.

5) Justin Wright/Hillhouse High School, New Haven, who wrote about E. Curtissa R. Cofield, who in 1991 became the first black woman appointed as a Connecticut Superior Court judge.

6) Emma MacDonald/Bulkeley High School, Hartford, whose essay described the life of Charlotte Forten, the first black teacher in Salem, Mass., who was noted for her work educating former slaves in the South.

The State Comptroller appreciates input on this and other issues from residents of the state. Please feel free to contact her office by phone - (860) 702-3300; mail - OSC, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106; or, via E-mail - osc.opinions@po.state.ct.us

Learn more about the Connecticut Comptroller's Office by calling up our Internet Home Page, at the link below.

For Immediate Release
April 28, 2008

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