Official 2022 Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest

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

A man and a woman working on quilts

December 15th, 2021! 10 AM PT/1 PM ET – William Rhodes & Ben Jones “Making Visible The Connections”

E-mail: to register.

William Rhodes working on quilts with a friend

December 15th @ 10 AM PT/1 PM ET

Art tour and art workshop

Free. Public programming, Making Visible the Connections: Ben F. Jones and William Rhodes. , @ 10 AM PT/1 PM ET.

Sankofa Quilt by William Rhodes interview with William Rhodes.
William Rhodes. Paint on Quilt

To order Ben F. Jones and William Rhodes joint catalog, log onto “Here you will find our most critical works of art. If you value artistic experiences on the printed page, you’ll not want to miss out on owning a copy of this artfully designed publication.” -William Rhodes

William Rhodes.
Making Visible the Connections

(Audio Interview+) Ritual and Recall: A Discussion with Anthony McKissic

In this interview with Anthony McKissic, we talk about ritual and recall in Black art and Black spaces. A resident of Baltimore, Maryland, McKissic was born and raised in Washington, DC. A part of his cultural upbringing is rooted in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended Morgan State University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. McKissic is currently pursuing a doctorate in English from Morgan State University while continuing to teach with Baltimore City Schools.

McKissic talks up Blues artists Jr. Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, and Cotton Patch Soul Blues a form of Blues music with roots in Mississippi.

Included here are links to a couple of the Blues artists that McKissic is inspired by:

R.L. Burnside and family. R.L. Burnside on guitar, Burnside’s grandson on drums. Song title, “Boogie Instrumental”

[source: YouTube, Alan Lomax Collection]

“I Came to Praise His Name” by Leo Bud Welch [source: YouTube, Easy Eye Sound]

Lady standing near harbor. New York buildings are in the background.



A discussion with educator and lover of Black historic sites and museums, Jenn Peck-Bailey. Learn of the places she’s visited. Jenn is the founder of Plant A Seed Now, LLC. Have you visited the sites she’s mentioned or others? Share your experience in the comments.

Interview on

Follow us on Instagram: @VisitBlackHistory

Jenn Peck-Bailey Instagram: @PlantASeedNow @PlantSeedsNow @PlantASeed_Girltrekker

(Photos) James Brown’s Augusta, Georgia

Street corner. Colorful mural featuring various images of James Brown.
Colorful James Brown mural on Broad Street in Augusta, Georgia

One thing about Augusta, they gonna show mad love for brother James Brown.

Go to “Get up offa that thing” and get down there for the James Brown Augusta, Georgia city tour:

Savannah River. Augusta Canal. Columbia County, Georgia.

Notes and Sources on the Life of Sara Bickford, Entrepreneur (1852 – 1931)



August – October 2020  

Kelly McCoy 1.9.21

Sara Gammon Brown Bickford (1852 – 1931) was the first Black woman to own a utility company. Born into slavery in 1852, she was separated from her parents when they were sold, and she never saw them again. The video below will weave you through the life of Sara Bickford. A Black woman who became the sole owner of Virginia City Water Company in Virginia City, Montana.

Below are suggested sources to begin your dive into the life of Sara Gammon Brown Bickford

I. Historic Sites  

 A) Virginia City, Madison County, Montana  


 2. PDF Map of City  

 B) Sara Bickford’s House (a.k.a Romey’s Gardens) in Virginia City City, Madison County,  Montana. The property lies 4 Blocks East of intersection of Fair-weather and Idaho  Streets. Cannot locate the specific street number or name. 


 C) Hangman’s Building (a.k.a. Virginia City Water Company) – the public utility that she owned and operated. 125 West Wallace Street, Virginia City , Madison County, Montana  1.  

II. Internet and Books that helped me to shape my story 

 A) Finding Sara Gammon Bickford by Bill Peterson, Ph.D. and Orlan Svingen, Ph.D.   Researcher Ph.D. student Laura J. Arata – 2009 


 B) Sara Gammon Bickford – Marlette C.Lacey on – 2007  1.  2. Book “ From Slave To Water Magnate: the Story of Sarah Bickford”  

 C) Women’s History – Montana’s African American Heritage 


 D) Celebrating Sarah Gammon Bickford – Montana Women’s History – 2014   1. 

III. Other resources folks might find helpful to learn more 

 A) Book “ Race and the Wild West Sara Bickford, The Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism  of Decline 1870 – 1930” by Laura J. Arata , University of Oklahoma Press 2020.   This book is Volume 17 in the Race and Culture in the American Press – Edited by  Quintard Taylor, Historian and Professor Emeritus of American History University of   Washington, and founder of  

B) Currently there are no documentary films featuring Sara Gammon Bickford 

Video and Source List Provided by: Kelly McCoy, Producer/Content Creator  

Kelly McCoy is the founder of G.E.A.R. Shop Collective, specializing in researching,  illuminating, and amplifying culture and heritage of BIPOC communities. Passionate about  creating and curating inclusive, diverse and equitable community-based experiences. Connect with her about cultural heritage and adventure tourism experiences, adventures in the natural  environment, and crocheting on Linked In or G.E.A.R.ShopCollective