Robert Richardson and Kenneth Dodd shared their winning entries from the Offender Black History Month Essay and Art Contest.
Richardson, 35, of Anderson is serving a sentence for money laundering over $50,000 and forgery. He won first place in the essay division of the contest for his submission, "From Slavery to the Whitehouse."
Richardson's essay focused on the accomplishments of African-Americans throughout history, ending with presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.
"Hearing stories from my grandmother about having to ride at the back of the bus made me interested in black history," he said.
Dodd took first place in the art division. He serving time for auto theft and receiving stolen auto parts.
Dodd's entry was a portrait of Obama.
"I wasn't going to enter the contest," he said. "I've been drawing portraits for the past four years because it helps me stay disciplined. At the last minute, I just grabbed one and entered it."
Jim Bowman, Putnamville's supervisor of education, said great care was taken in selecting the contest winners.
"This was not a giveaway," he said. "We held the contestants to high standards."
Offenders are part of many meetings and gatherings at the facility.
"It's part of a re-entry program," said Putnamville public information officer Alisia L. Lawrence. "It allows the offender to reconnect with the community. It shows that they aren't all bad and that some are really trying to rehabilitate themselves."