Annual Oratorical Contest
The goal of the Oratorical Contest is for students to experience the same transformative power of language that Frederick Douglass did as a young man. The contest is open to all students in grades 1-12 and is hosted in early december. Students memorize and present a portion of a Douglass speech from a stage at his home of Cedar Hill.
Look below for more info on applications, movies about the contest, and lists of past winners.
Pictures from 2012
Pictures from the 2012 contest are being posted to Flickr where you are free to browse them.
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site would like to thank all of the 2012 Oratorical Contestants who worked so hard and did such a good job. We would also like to thank all the parents and teachers who supported, cajoled, and helped guide the students throughout the process. And finally, thank you to our judges who graciously gave their time. Special congratulations to our 2012 winners!
Elementary (Grades 1-3)
Junior High (6-8)
Senior High (9-12)
Podium Points Oratory Videos
We have a new tool to help you prepare this year. Four movies, each of which breaks down a different aspect of great oratory. Thembi Duncan (a master from Ford's Theatre) and students at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, take you through physical, verbal, and mental skills, as well as how to practice with others. Thanks to Ford's Theatre, the National Mall, the National Park Foundation, and Meridian Hill Productions for their help.
Oratorical Contest in the Washington Post!
Thanks to the Washington Post for coming out and taking pictures of the 2011 Contest. Check out the photo gallery for some wonderful photographs.
Did You Know?
Family was a big part of Frederick Douglass' life at Cedar Hill. By the 1890s his four surviving children (a fifth had died as a baby) all lived in Washington, D.C. Between them they eventually gave Douglass twenty one grand kids, filling the halls of Cedar Hill with noise and activity. Douglass can be seen here with his grandson Joseph, who went on to become a famous violinist.