Morgan Allen, a junior English major and sociology minor from Maryland, was recently recognized for a piece she submitted for Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards. Her poem, titled “For Black Faces in White Spaces,” was recognized as Best Entry among those from Seton Hill University.
“We all know about the groundbreaking work Martin Luther King Jr. has done and how he’s paved the way for so many after him," Morgan said. "The contest itself was much of the same in the sense that it asked for personal narratives from people dealing with different kinds of interpersonal identities and relations.” High school and college students in the Pittsburgh area could submit reflections on Dr. King’s legacy and individual experiences with racial and cultural differences.
This entry was especially important to Morgan, as it was “filled with experiences that myself and people like me go through on a day-to-day basis; both in personal settings and in academia,” she said. “It was about acknowledging and trying to show that these experiences are more than just something blatantly said or done. It’s smaller things; different moves that make up an entire cluster of situations.”
“In a world where we’re constantly changing and evolving and trying to work together, it is important for these narratives to be heard and to be explored.”
At 21 years old, Morgan currently has an associate’s degree in Fine Arts and her certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She aspires to someday start her own publishing company, to continue to help push forward for voices of change. “I want to give voices to people who don’t usually have them.”
The 20th Anniversary Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards Student Writing Celebration will take place on Monday, January 21 at Carnegie Mellon University. “It’s such an honor to have won and to even get the opportunity to write and submit,” Morgan said. “It’s my first writing award and ceremony and I am genuinely excited to attend!”