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Childhood Activist Sample Law School Personal Statement & Essay – UNEDITED

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At the age of eighteen, I never expected to receive so much attention. After two years of trying to persuade the local Scout council to abandon its widespread use of the Confederate battle flag, my letter to the National Office paid off. Newspapers nationwide reported that my letter spurred the Boy Scouts of America to issue a policy restricting use of the flag. As a conservative white Southerner whose family moved here in 1635, I had to explain that this policy was not just politically correct, but that it made sense.

Nine years ago, I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow (OA), a selective Scout organization designed to encourage leadership and community service. My seventy-member induction class included twenty black Scouts, but I never saw more than one or two of them at OA events. I became concerned that the OA was not developing leaders from one-third of our state’s population, and wondered why blacks returned so rarely. I remembered the pervasiveness of the Confederate flag on induction weekend-decorating mugs and T-shirts, hanging from flagpoles and in the dining hall. While I knew the flag was not the root cause of the problem, I decided that its removal would help keep black Scouts in the OA.

Therefore, as editor of the regional OA newsletter, I published an article critical of the flag. Several black Scouts quietly confirmed my suspicions. One Scout recalled that his mother, seeing the flags in the camp dining hall, pulled him aside and whispered, “I don’t think we’re welcome here.” More typical was the response of a prominent Scout leader, who angrily demanded to know why any debate was even necessary since “we only have two blacks in the lodge anyway.” I could not believe how thoroughly he had missed my point.

Though my local efforts were thwarted, I still believed that Scouting should abandon the flag. One year later, my letter to the National Office prompted the new policy and ignited a storm of public debate. Critics blasted my disrespect for Southern tradition, misinterpreting my desire to help the South as an apology for the Civil War. I am proud of my relatives who fought and died for the Confederacy, but it is not their image that the flag represents when it is used at twentieth century Scout meetings, football games, and NASCAR races. Scouts began using the flag in the 1950s, about the time Georgia and South Carolina raised it over their State Houses. The flag is a response to unpopular Supreme Court justices, not invading armies.

Ironically, [school’s] student newspaper has charged that I lack compassion and only represent white male fraternity members on a fraternity-dominated campus. The newspaper did not endorse me for student body president because I refused to give unconditional support to every cause, including de-emphasis of Western curricula and mandatory hiring quotas for black faculty. The editors downplayed my leading role in establishing the first main campus housing for a black fraternity, a woman’s selective group, and a multicultural organization, because they believed that the fraternities should have been kicked off campus instead. Nonetheless, I was the first person to be elected without their endorsement in twenty years because students recognized my commitment to the entire community.

The battle flag has slowly disappeared from Scouting, and [school’s] campus better reflects the school’s diversity. While integration is still a distant goal, these changes are small steps in the right direction. I sought practical improvements through independent thinking, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of fierce criticism. A legal education would give me tools to better use these abilities. I am not headed to law school on a mission, but I see law as an opportunity to contribute as we build our future.

Note: This essay appears unedited for instructional purposes. Essays edited by EssayEdge are substantially improved. For samples of EssayEdge editing, please click here.

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