Virtual Oratorical Contest


Annually, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site hosts a live oratorical contest at the site where students perform a part of a Frederick Douglass speech that they learn from memory from the stage in the park’s auditorium. This year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, we cannot host this event live, but we have two exciting options for the 2020 contest, so you can still participate!

Category 1: Oratorical Contest

This option is open to grades 1 - 12. For this contest, students learn and recite part of a Douglass speech from memory and perform the speech for judges. Normally we do this at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site but due to COVID-19 we cannot hold the contest safely indoors, so students will deliver their speeches live via Webex for the judges. The contest will be held on January 5 – 8, 2021 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Click here to view guidelines for Category One: Oratorical Contest

Category 2: Video Contest

This option is open to grades 6 - 12 and the final video may be the work of an individual or a team of students working together. In this option, students will take an excerpt of a Douglass speech and create a short, 3 minutes or less video that interprets the message or essence of a Douglass speech into a creative video. If you like music, you could write and perform music or spoken word poetry that interprets the essence of what Douglass is saying in one of his speeches and create a music video or something similar. You could also do a voiceover of the speech as the audio portion of the video and then use animation or imagery to help tell or interpret the story part of your video or to make the speech come to life.

Click here to view guidelines for Category Two: Video Contest

The Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association and the Frederick Douglass Housing Corporation generously donate contest prizes each year (prizes TBD). Winners also receive plaques and the winning videos will be featured as part of the virtual celebration of the Frederick Douglass Birthday in February and Black History Month.
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5 minutes, 32 seconds

A promotional video for the 2020 Frederick Douglass Virtual Oratorical Contest, sponsored by the Frederick Douglass NHS.


Last updated: December 9, 2020

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