Hip History Contest Ends In Success


July 6, 2021

Hip History Contest Ends in Success as Winners Bring Buxton, Iowa, History Alive

OTTUMWA, IA — Uniting Through History’s first Hip History Contest has concluded and prizes have been awarded to middle and high school students for their creative presentations on the historic, racially integrated coal mining town of Buxton, Iowa.

Rachelle Chase, Uniting Through History’s founder and executive director, was charmed by the students’ efforts and the unique ways they chose to educate their peers about Buxton.

“Even at a young age, these students were able to create their video entries in a way that encouraged excitement about the lives of Black Americans and educated themselves and others about Buxton,” said Chase. “We’re grateful for their participation and so impressed by their creativity.”

Middle and high school students were invited to participate in the Hip History Contest to help spread the word about the extraordinary town of Buxton and how its lessons on unity and racial equality can be applied today to help combat racism in America.

Their video entries were judged on creativity, inspirational, educational, and historical content, and application of an excerpt from Chase’s book “Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa.”

Uniting Through History is an Iowa-based nonprofit founded by Chase in 2021. The Hip History Contest is its first major project.

“Considering we launched the contest and the nonprofit at the same time and both were more work than we expected, we’re pleased with the results,” Chase said. “We’re already planning 2022’s contest and talking about ways to make it even bigger and better.”

Payton, Aliyah, Adeline, Tyce and Kristopher won first place in the middle school category for the play they created. Their play demonstrates how Black and white residents of Buxton were treated equally and paid the same wages at a time in the United States when people of color were egregiously discriminated against.

“I didn’t know much about Buxton,” said Kristopher. “So, like, literally everything I learned was new. So, like, I didn’t even know it was a coal mine or, like, where it was or anything about it.” 

The other students didn’t know about Buxton, either, except for Aliyah, who had family ties to the town.

In the high school category, Lauren impressed the judges with a painting depicting an interracial couple. Lauren filmed herself painting and told the story of Buxton through captions on the video.

“I created an interracial couple to really showcase the meaning of equality and that they’re free to do whatever they want and they’re free to love who they want,” said Lauren, a high school junior from Ankeny, Iowa.

First place winners received a monetary prize and a 30-minute Zoom meeting with a contest judge of their choice. Second and third place winners also received monetary prizes. Visit UnitingThroughHistory.org to view all winning entries.

The Hip History Contest would not be possible without the generous donation from Musco Sports Lighting, LLC and the following contest judges who generously donated their time: Charity Nebbe of Iowa Public Radio; Derrick Holmes, CEO, Banneker Watches & Clocks; Marquas Ashworth, rapper and Ziyad founder; Steve Myers, president of Iowa’s premier talent agency, The Peak Agency; realtor Monica Henry; dance educator Lovar Davis Kidd; spoken word poet Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey; and Jatyra Marsh, a multimedia journalist at KYOU-TV in Ottumwa.

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