York Town Square

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Essayists on war and peace – old and new – write on

The Continental Congress met in York’s Centre Square Court House, seen here in this Lewis Miller drawing. The York County Heritage Trust, operator of the courthouse replica, is sponsoring an essay contest linked to the Articles of Confederation and other congressional actions in the courthouse during that body’s nine-month stay. (Courtesy, York County Heritage Trust)
American wars have spawned essayists as a means of building patriotism or expressing loss or hope.
Phyllis Wheatly.jpg
Phyllis Wheatley was one such political writer. The young black poet, whose work caught George Washington’s eye, was optimistic – overly so – in writing in 1772 that Britain’s new North American secretary would be supportive of all American colonists:

“No more America, in mournful strain/
Of wrongs, and grievance unredress’d complain/
No longer shalt though dread the iron chain/
Which wanton Tyrannny with lawless hand/
Had Made, and with it meant t’ enslave the land.”

The York County Heritage Trust is borrowing a page from Phyllis Wheatley in sponsoring an essay contest to commemorate the anniversary of the reconstruction of York’s Colonial Courthouse and the 230th anniversary of the adoption of the Articles of Confederation… .¶

Here are the rules:

The contest is open to students in grades three through 12. Essays should be 200 to 500 words for students in grades three through five; 500 to 800 words for students in grades six through eight; and 800 to 1,000 words for students in grades nine through 12. Suggested topics include the Articles of Confederation, the importance of that document in the United States’ development, or York’s role as a revolutionary capital of the country.
Essays, which must be typed, can be e-mailed to education@yorkheritage.org or mailed to Essay Contest 2007, York County Heritage Trust, 250 E. Market St., York 17403. If submitting an essay by e-mail, please include “Essay Contest 2007” in the subject line.
The top essays in each age group will earn a $230 award. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 26, and winners will be notified Nov. 9. Awards will be presented Nov. 18 at the Colonial Courthouse.