Martin Luther King Jr stands with one arm out, crowd visible in the background

2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Festival

Friday, January 19, 2024, in the MPR

K-2: 8:40-10:00am
3-5: 11:00am-12:30pm

The festival celebrates the eloquence and the leadership for justice that defined the life of Dr. King. It is held throughout the Oakland Unified School District and is one of the highlights on the Chabot calendar as individual students, groups of students, and classes take the stage and recite poems and speeches fearlessly and with emotional power. This year’s theme is “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the wo/man who wields it.” For more information about OUSD’s Oratorical, please see this websiteAll students are encouraged to recite!

Speeches and poems are recited from memory and not read. There are 3 categories:

  1. Original Individual Speech or Poem:  A single student recites a speech or poem that they have written  or that was written by someone else but has never been published  (3 minutes max)
  1. Famous Speech or Poem:  A single student recites a speech or poem written by someone other than the student.  (3 minutes max)
  1. Choral:  A group of students, from 2 to an entire class, recite a speech or poem written by the group or someone else.  (5 minute max)

This is a competition: four students or groups will have the opportunity to recite at the Regional Competition (date TBA).  Competitors are judged on these 4 criteria:

  • Interpretation/Creativity
  • Expression/Stage Presence
  • Delivery/Presentation
  • Overall Effectiveness

See the last page of the entry form for a more detailed rubric.

Students and classes interested in reciting will enter the competition by completing the entry form that indicates the category in which they will compete by Thursday, January 11. Paper forms are available in the office