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  • Official Rules

    Sponsor is the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, USA ("Sponsor" or "N-YHS").

    The 2014 New-York Historical Society Black Fives Essay Contest begins January 7, 2014 at 9:00:00 a.m. US Eastern Time and ends February 24, 2014, 11:59:00 p.m. US Eastern Time ("ET") (the "Contest"). Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these official rules ("Official Rules"). By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Official Rules and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules. This is a skill-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.


    Eligibility: Contest is open only to legal residents of the United States who are in 9th through 12th grades at the time of entry, and who meet the Admissions Criteria described below in “Judging Criteria and Conditions.” You must have permission from a parent or legal guardian to enter the Contest. If selected as a Finalist, you will be required to provide your parent or legal guardian’s written consent to your participation, and if you fail to provide such written consent within three business days of the request then you may be disqualified. Employees of the New-York Historical Society and its affiliates and subsidiaries, and family members or people living in the same household with such individuals, are not eligible to participate.


    Entrants must submit an original essay that answers, in 500 words or less, “Name a history-making basketball player or coach, past or present, with whom you would choose to spend a day, and explain why.”

    All essays must comply with the following guidelines before submission:

    • No literary form other than an essay will be accepted.
    • Each essay must reflect the entrant’s own research, writing and original thinking.
    • Essay must be written in English.
    • Only one (1) essay may be submitted by each entrant.
    • Each entrant must complete the online entry form as instructed at
    • Essays must be typed and submitted electronically at
    • The essay text is limited to five hundred words.
    • Each essay must include a title header, not considered part of the 500 word body text, with the following information:
    • Essay title, author’s name, the title of the essay.
    • If references are included, they should be clearly identified.
    • Entrants must submit online at

    The entries will be judged in accordance with the Judging Criteria, as defined below.

    All entries must be submitted and received by February 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm EDT. Proof of submission is not proof of receipt.

    Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges according to the following criteria: (i) comprehension; (ii) organization; (iii) conclusions; (iv) creativity; and (v) writing. Each criterion will be scored in accordance with the following scoring structure:

    Comprehension (1 – 20 points)
    How well does the essay reflect a thorough comprehension of the essay topic?

    Organization (1 – 20 points)
    Does the argument/discussion follow a logical and easily understood progression? Does any outside evidence contained in the essay support the essay’s main points?

    Conclusions (1 – 20 points)
    Do the conclusions follow logically from the main body of the essay? How compelling are the conclusions?

    Creativity (1 – 20 points)
    Use of diverse resources, such as interviews or quotes from others; story-telling approach; creative angle?

    Writing (1 – 20 points)
    Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, concise language.

    For each competition, the entrant who gets the highest combined score will be the Grand Prize winner, the entrant who gets the second highest combined score will be the 2nd place winner and the entrant who gets the third highest combined score will be the 3rd place winner. The likelihood and odds of winning a particular prize depend on the quality of each entry compared to the quality of other entries, as judged by the criteria stated in these Official Rules. Any and all tie- breakers will be determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion. Winners will be selected and announced on or about March 14, 2014 on the New-York Historical Society Black Fives website at Winners will also be notified by phone and or e-mail, at the address stated on the Contest Entry Form, within three (3) business days after selection. An inability to contact the winner or a return of prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be selected. If the winner does not respond to award notification within seven (7) business days after the notification, the prize may be deemed to be “Unclaimed”. Unclaimed prizes may be added to future contests or awarded to an alternate winner at the sole discretion of Sponsors. Winners may waive their right to receive prizes. Prizes are not assignable and not transferable. Winners are solely responsible for reporting and payment of any taxes on prizes. Winners and their parent or guardian may be required to complete an affidavit of eligibility, and a liability and publicity release (except where prohibited by law) which must be returned within ten (10) days of date of postmark. Failure to sign and return the affidavit or release within ten (10) days, or   to comply with any term or condition of these Official Rules, may result in a winner's disqualification, the forfeiture of his or her interest in the prize, and the award of the prize to an alternate winner according to the criteria set forth in these Rules.


    By entering the Contest, entrants release and covenant not to bring claim against Sponsors and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, directors, officers, employees, representatives, partners and agents from any liability whatsoever for any claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Contest or with the acceptance, possession or use of any prize (including, without limitation, claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to, loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light). The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. If any such provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, these rules shall be construed in accordance with their terms as if the valid or enforceable provision was not contained therein.


    Each entrant retains the copyright to his/her Photograph(s) and Description(s), but explicitly grants Sponsor, its licensees, affiliates and their designees (collectively, the “Authorized Parties”) an irrevocable, nonexclusive license for the duration of copyright to use each Photograph and Description for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes, in any and all media now known or hereafter created, including but not limited to publication in catalogs, brochures, blogs, and websites, at Authorized Parties’ discretion, without additional consideration, notification, permission to entrant or any third party.



    One (1) Grand Prize Winner, one (1) Second Place Winner, and one (1) Third Place Winner will be selected. The Grand Prize is a $1,000 college scholarship. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of Grand Prize is US $1000.

    • Second Place Prize is a $250 gift certificate to the New-York Historical Society Museum Store or web site ( The ARV of the Second Place Prize is $250.
    • Third Place Prize is a $100 gift certificate to the New-York Historical Society Museum Store or web site ( The ARV of the Third Place Prize is $100.
    • All winners must meet the Admissions Criteria described below in “Judging Criteria and Conditions.
    • Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received and skill of the entrant.


    Judging will be conducted by an independent panel of judges. Decisions of the judges will be final and shall not be subject to appeal.  


    By participating, participants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless the New-York Historical Society and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, tour operators, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.

    The New-York Historical Society assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. N-YHS is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to in this Contest.


    THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Entrants agree that this Contest shall be subject to and governed by the laws of New York and the forum for any dispute shall be in New York, United States of America. To the extent permitted by law, the right to litigate, to seek injunctive relief or to make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in case of disputes or claims resulting from or on connection with this Contest are hereby excluded and any entrant expressly waives any and all such rights. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries are void if the Sponsor determines the photograph to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error, obtained through fraud or theft or do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined above.

    Participants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; and (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final on all matters relating to the Contest. All federal, state and local taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another winner.


    If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of N-YHS that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, N-YHS reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsor elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsor will not retain any rights to the submitted photographs.


    For names of the winners and select Finalists, visit after February 24, 2014.


    Entrants agree that personal data, especially name and address, may be processed, shared and otherwise used for the purposes and within the context of the Contest and any other purposes outlined in these Official Rules. The data may also be used by the Sponsor in order to verify the participant’s identity, postal address and telephone number or to otherwise verify the participant’s eligibility to participate in the Contest. Participants have the right to access, review, rectify or cancel any personal data held by Sponsor by writing to Sponsor at 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024. Personal data will be used by Sponsor and its affiliates exclusively for the purposes stated herein.

    NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS: REMOVAL FROM MAILING LIST: Any individual (or other duly authorized person) may elect to exclude the name and address of that individual from all lists used by the New-York Historical Society to mail skill contests or sweepstakes. To elect to have an individual’s name excluded from all such lists, submit a removal request in writing to: New-York Historical Society, Attention: N-YHS Contests, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024. This notification system may be used to prohibit mailing of all skill contests or sweepstakes by New-York Historical Society to such individual.

Photo of New York Rens star Charles “Tarzan” Cooper in uniform, ca. 1939. Courtesy of the Black Fives Foundation

Photo of New York Rens star Charles “Tarzan” Cooper in uniform, ca. 1939.
Courtesy of the Black Fives Foundation.