The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Seeks Youth Orators…Audition Today!

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site seeks youth orators…audition today!

The 2022 Frederick Douglass NHS Oratorical Contest will be held virtually on January 11-14, 2022.

There are a few changes for this year’s contest that you should be aware of:

  • By 2022 we are requiring students to choose one of the 4 speeches the park has chosen for our 2022 contest.  You will find the complete speeches along with background information on each speech that will help you with your speech preparation.  
  • Frederick Douglass spent time in Ireland after he wrote his first autobiography and made a lasting impact on that country.  Since the contest is virtual in 2022, we are working with a partner organization that has connections to several schools in Ireland and we are inviting them to participate in this year’s contest.  Since Irish school grade levels may be a little bit different than schools in the United States, the contest categories are listed by age this year and not grade.  

Why we choose specific speeches this year…We will invite the winning students to perform their speeches at the Douglass Birthday Celebration on Saturday, February 12, 2022, which we expect to do in person this year.  However, we were hoping that some students might be interested in helping us with a few other programs we will do in 2022.  We chose Douglass speeches around the programs we want to do.

  • There is a Women’s Rights speech we want to use for a Women’s History Month program in March.
  • Douglass gave a speech in what is now known as Lincoln Park in D.C. to dedicate a statue to Abraham Lincoln.   The anniversary of that speech is in April and we would like to use student orators for a program about that event.
  • In 1871 after the Civil War, Douglass gave a speech for a new holiday, Decoration Day (now known at Memorial Day) at Arlington National Cemetery.  We want to record students performing their speech for a video we are creating that will go out on Memorial Day 2022.
  • Lastly, we chose one of the speeches that Douglass gave in Cork, Ireland while he was in the county and we are going to create a video about Douglass in Ireland using students who have learned this speech.  We will put this video out in October which is Ireland’s Black History Month.  They chose October because Douglass visited Ireland in the month of October.

We hope you will participate in the contest again this year and that you will be excited about possibly being featured in one of the great programs we are doing in 2022.  We will not be limiting participation to just the students who win first place because every year we have a number of great performances and we want to use a variety of student voices in these programs.

Share the contest flyer with your friends and siblings.  The contest is open to 100 students this year and we would love to have lots of orators participate.


John T. Fowler, II, MA


1411 W Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20020

By Phone:
(202) 426-5961

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