Contest Rules – 2021


The 2021 Hip History Contest Has Ended and Winners Are Being Interviewed. Come back on 6/21/21 to see the winners!

On March 1, 2021, Uniting Through History launched its first annual virtual Hip History Contest. Students participating in the Hip History Contest will bring the early 20th century town of Buxton, Iowa alive through the arts. Not only will the Hip History Contest give young Iowans and beyond the opportunity to learn about an overlooked part of history, but it is also Uniting Through History’s inaugural project that encompasses two of our key principles: Unity and educating and reinforcing the fact that Black history is American history by providing creative ways for people to connect with the experiences of Black Americans.

Just as the residents of Buxton were an extraordinary example of Black and white people living and working together in peaceful productivity, the Hip History Contest seeks to unite young people to share Buxton’s history.

Middle and high school students will submit their creative and educational interpretations of an excerpt from Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa. Entries, which must be in the form of a video, must be original work created by the student. Examples include a song, poem, art piece, dance routine, monologue, story, a scene—whatever the student can come up with. While talent is a plus, creativity is a top criteria for judging.

Entries will be posted online and later narrowed down to finalists by Uniting Through History team members. A panel of “celebrity” judges will then vote for the top three winners in each middle/high school category. While prizes will be awarded throughout the contest, 1st Prize, which will be awarded to both middle and high school winners, is a $1,500 scholarship and $500 cash.

Contest Schedule

Feb. 17, 2021Contest is live. Entries will be accepted but not posted.
March 1, 2021Contest officially begins.
March 10, 2021—
May 19, 2021
Entries are posted to the Entries page every Wednesday.
May 20, 2021—
May 26, 2021
Uniting Through History team members select three (3) middle school and high school student finalists.
May 26, 2021
June 9, 2021
Judges select middle school and high school winners.
June 9, 2021
June 16, 2021
Winners are notified via phone and email.
June 16, 2021
June 21, 2021
Winners names and videos posted. 1st place winner interview posted.
June 21, 2021Contest officially ends.


Eligibility: The Hip History Contest is open to students in middle school (6th – 8th grade) and high school (9th – 12th grade). Students must be enrolled in these grades at the time of entry. If the contest is extended into the summer, for the purposes of this contest, the student will be deemed to be in the same grade they were upon entry.

Judging Process: Each Wednesday, entries received by the previous day (Tuesday) will be posted. At this point, there is no judging. The only way an entry would not be accepted is if one or more rules were not followed. If the reason the entry was not accepted was minor and/or easily correctable, we will attempt to let the entrant know so they can fix the problem and resubmit the entry, if desired. Under no circumstances will we provide feedback on content. A week prior to winner selection by the judges, Uniting Through History team members will select the top three entries in the middle school and high school categories. The judges will then select the winners.

Judging Criteria: Entries will be evaluated in the following areas during the judging process:

  • CREATIVITY: Did you share the history of Buxton in a unique/interesting way?
  • EDUCATIONAL: Did the viewer learn about Buxton after watching your video?
  • INSPIRATIONAL: Does your video inspire people to learn more or take action after watching?
  • INCLUSION OF REQUIRED MATERIAL: Does your video open with the contest introduction, begin with the required paragraphs from the excerpt, and include at least three (3) facts from the excerpt?

Submissions: Detailed submission requirements can be found in the Hip History Contest Submission Checklist. At a high-level, all videos must:

  • be three (3) minutes or less in length
  • be less than 500 MB in size
  • contain an introduction that shows the contest information
  • start with the following words, extracted from Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa: “Once upon a time, in a state that was 99.3 percent white and “foreign born” was the town of Buxton, Iowa—a town of 5,000 where 55 percent of the population was black. The year was 1905.”
  • include at least three (3) facts from the excerpt
  • be submitted via the entry form with required information