Finalist compete in 21st annual MLK oratory contest for fifth, fourth graders

HOUSTON — At a time when politics seem to have our country as divided as ever, it's fitting that it is also the time of year to remember an American who tried only to bring the nation together, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Twelve of Houston's most eloquent fourth and fifth grade students took part Friday in the 21st Annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. The children were finalist in a months-long competition that started out with 230 Houston Independent School District students from two dozen schools.

The event, which was held at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, is meant to celebrate cultural diversity. It asks students to answer an essay question from the point of view of the great civil rights activists. This year's question: If Dr. King were alive today what would he say about Muhammad Ali's contribution to society?

Gardere Law Firm sponsored competition, hoping it will encourage writing and oratory skills in the city's youth.