Columbus Ohio - Anita M Diop Scholarship Winners

Chiquita Oliver First Place 

Nicole Hickman Second Place 

Christopher Holley First Place 

Shawn Jackson Second Place 

Living the American Dream as a African American


Chiquita Oliver

My perspective of living the “American Dream” as an African American can be spoken in many different words. Living that dream defines our collective and individual history in America. The history of obstacles that our foremothers and forefathers fought and were victors opened the avenues to make our lives much easier to live today and in the future. This essay will demonstrate my outlook of living the American Dream as an African American.

I’m living my dream as an independent individual because of success of African American pioneers and inventors throughout history in America that have contributed to the greater society as well as to that of the African American culture. These individuals faced many setbacks such as racism, segregation, and Jim Crow laws that made it difficult for blacks to better themselves such as education, and employment. They conquered those setbacks so that blacks today can live in equality, liberty and obtain choices for work, housing, health etc. Before African Americans were viewed as not being good enough, and were also forced to live in poor low-income neighborhoods with high crime rates, and low educational standards. Now African Americans can succeed at any level. From CEO’s, upper and middle management, and even now we have the hope of Barak Obama obtaining the highest position offered in the United States , as President. Through education, African Americans now have choices to better ourselves, gaining skills that were once barred. All these tools assist us to build our families and make provisions. It also gives us a greater hope of not only applying for jobs in various fields, but obtaining those positions and recognition for jobs well done. Whatever the goals are we can accomplish because anything is possible. If we want to live in a better neighborhood that opportunity is open to us.

I am living my “American Dream” as an African American. I have my completed my high school education and I am now continuing my education at a Columbus State Community College. I will be a successful individual, or should I say successful black woman with will power, strength, motivation, and stability. I have confidence to never let anything stop me or get in the way of me bettering myself. Because so many African Americans succeeded in their dream, it is my duty to be just as successful. Therefore, as the way was made for me, I in turn will hand over the baton to make the way for the generations that come after me. By being trained and educated with a skill, advancing my career, choosing good place to live makes me an African American role model.

All that I have worked for is my “American Dream”, and that is my self-fulfillment. I hope to influence and give wisdom to my children as an African American mother, so my children can become people of importance with high standards and knowledge to have their own “American Dream” as an African American.

Living the American Dream as a African American


Nicole Hickman

Living the “American Dream”, whether you are African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Native American, African or Asian is a paradox. This “dream” has been customary to today’s society initiated by our founding fathers for a country whose culture has rejected that dream. To many the “American Dream” can be defined as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow, but in reality the dream can only be defined as what an individual can make of it. Yes it is possible for anyone to achieve such an outstanding goal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but to most at the end of the day it’s just a dream that cannot not be obtained through the harsh realities of today’s society.

The American Dream cannot be defined under one category because each individual has his or her own meaning. African Americans in particular have a hard time processing what it is to live the American Dream. A dream based on a country where our people were brought to as slaves to work a land where we not welcome and forced to dismiss out native background along with our families, beliefs, history, names, and freedom. As times had changed and we began to forget what it was that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had taught us and we started to lose the morals, values, and respect that had been instilled in us from growing up in two-parent homes. We as a civilization had condemned ourselves and our children to a society that doesn’t care anymore about us than we care about ourselves and subjected each other to even less than what we had ever started out with before we became slaves. This dream of a better tomorrow is nothing more than an object with a price tag and the highest bidder takes all. Leaving behind everything our ancestors have fought so hard for, which is for African Americans to be noticed as a people with one voice for freedom and equal opportunity as Dr. King had once stood for.

Those dreams have been lost in a fire of deceit, sex, money, jewelry, and flashy cars. Our dream of a better tomorrow has died and now we look only in today for all the answers that tomorrow will never bring. If tomorrow ever gets here? But not all African Americans share this same dream for America . Some are willing to wait in today and work for tomorrow’s answers. For example, this essay is not an instant guarantied win; I have to be patient and work hard to be able to earn this victory. All dreams don’t come with a price tag though; some are for the trouble-free tranquility that a person can only find at home with one’s family or the simple joys of helping to improve the quality of humanity.

Living the American Dream as an African American in my opinion is living the reality of a secure home where my family can be financially at ease and feel loved. In America today, my only dream is to build a quality hotel empire that my family can settle on and grow. As long as I am an American I will always have the freedom to seize opportunity but as long as I am an African American I will not always have the opportunity to make my own freedoms. As an African American I will have to work harder to achieve the American Dream whereas I already have to face a great deal of discrimination, bigotry, and injustice because of my skin and the ignorant, mind-less, self image that African Americans have placed on ourselves. American civilization is not looking for us to succeed in this pursuit and we have to work to prove them wrong in a culture where wealthy Caucasian men who only intend of feeding themselves and keeping it in the family own most successful businesses. Instead of encouraging the growth of the rest of civilization and subjecting them to mediocre jobs. We have already achieved our goal of life and liberty, but our pursuit of happiness will be what we make it.

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