Meet the Winners of the 2013 Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest

First Place

Sarah Henry

Photo by Bruce Press, brucefpressphotography.com

SARAH HENRY
Georgetown, Ind.

Reading: “Improved Man”

Sarah, 17, is about to start her senior year at Floyd Central High School. She regularly spends summers at Camp Quest, the secular camp, and she and a friend co-founded her school’s chapter of the Secular Student Alliance during the 2012 winter break. “We’ve struggled with our administration,” she says. “A lot. But hopefully things will go better this term!”

Second Place

Terence Madden

Photo by Bruce Press
brucefpressphotography.com

TERENCE MADDEN
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Reading: Thomas Paine (With His Name Left Out,The History of Liberty Cannot Be Written)”

Terry, a graduate of the Humanist Institute, has retired as a reader of stories to children for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. He is now co-chair of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, and tells stories about UU humanist heroes like Tom Paine and Robert Ingersoll, as well as former UUAA member Roy Wood Sellars, who drafted “A Humanist Manifesto” in 1933.

Third Place

Tya Pope

Photo by Bruce Press
brucefpressphotography.com

TYA M. POPE
New Castle, Del.

Reading: “A Christmas Sermon” and “What I Want for Christmas”

Tya is the Training and Prevention Specialist for the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She says she knew nothing about Robert Ingersoll until she stumbled upon the oratory contest on Facebook. “I was so impressed with how progressive he was for someone of his time,” she says. “What an incredible man.”

Fourth Place

Reading: Suffrage Address

Jenniffer Masterson

Photo by Bruce Press
brucefpressphotography.com

JENNIFFER MASTERSON
Washington, D.C.

Jen, a store manager for Starbucks, is a group leader and volunteer for the Center for Inquiry-DC. “Through our CFI-DC Sunday Humanist Book Club, we read Susan Jacoby’s Freethinkers and The Great Agnostic,she says. “Both made me want to learn more about Ingersoll and to reignite his passion for compassion and humanism within the free thought movement.”

For a complete set of photographs of the contest by Bruce Press of brucefpressphotography.com, click here.

2013 Contest held indoors

Rain forced the Contest indoors yesterday. James Hoban’s Restaurant on nearby New Hampshire Avenue provided a space for the contest to proceed in spite of the rain. Eleven contestants competed, some of them having traveled from Florida, Indiana, and Delaware. Sarah Henry took first place reading from “Improved Man.” Terence Madden took second place reading from Ingersoll’s talk about Thomas Paine.  Third place was won by Tya M. Pope who chose from two related speeches:  “A Christmas Sermon” and “What I Want for Christmas.” Jenniffer Masterson took forth place reading a selection from Ingersoll’s “Suffrage Address.”  All of the performances were excellent, some even performed from memory as Ingersoll did. Links to photographs and videos will be posted here as they become available

Jamila Bey Replaces Susan Jacoby as Judge for 2013 Contest

Jamila Bey Joins Panel of Judges for Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest This Sunday in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

For Immediate Release

Contact: Steve Lowe, 202-657-6346, ingersoll@wash.org

(Washington D.C. June 27, 2013)—Jamila Bey, host of the “Sex, Politics And Religion Hour: SPAR With Jamila” radio program, will join the panel of judges for the third Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest at noon on Sunday, June 30 on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. Bey is also a member of the American Atheists board of directors.

She replaces author Susan Jacoby. (A minor medical issue has resulted in Jacoby not being able to travel for this year’s event.) Bey will be joined by Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason, and District 29 Toastmasters Governor Monifa (Mo) Hamilton.

Contestants will deliver brief excerpts from the work of Robert G. Ingersoll, a noted 19th-century orator who was known as The Great Agnostic.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top four orators: First place, $250; second place, $150; third place, $100; fourth place, $50. Up to 15 contestants are expected to participate. More information can be found at the contest website, including links to Ingersoll’s speeches.

“Despite being one of our country’s most influential historical figures, Robert Ingersoll has become largely forgotten,” said Steve Lowe, the event’s founder. “This contest is meant to help revive his message and his popularity.”

Ingersoll was an outspoken critic of religion, as well as an advocate for racial equality, birth control, women’s rights, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, Shakespeare, free speech and voting rights for Washington, DC, where he moved with his family in 1878, residing here for seven years. Besides being a speaker who delivered over 1,200 public speeches to packed houses all over the country, he was a successful lawyer and Civil War veteran. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The contest is sponsored by the Washington Area Secular Humanists, The Center for Inquiry-DC, the American Humanist Association and the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, a project of the Council for Secular Humanism.

Photos and videos of the two previous contests can be found on the contest website.

In case of rain, the contest will be held nearby at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar at One Dupont Circle, NW, near the southern entrance to the Dupont Circle subway station.

Fifteen Contestants

Fifteen Contestants have signed up to compete in the  2013 Ingersoll Oratory Contest. This is the maximum number of contestants, but it is still possible to sign up on the wait list at the Registration web site,  http://ingersollcontest2013.eventbrite.com/#

If any registered contestants withdraw or do not show up at the contest, those on the wait list will be invited to compete, in the order they signed up, up to a maximum of 15 contestants.

2013 Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest Seeking Competitors

Event to take place on Sunday, June 30, in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

Judges to include best-selling author Susan Jacoby

An oratory contest to honor Robert G. Ingersoll, a famous 19th century speaker known as The Great Agnostic, is seeking up to 15 people to compete for prizes by delivering a brief excerpt from Ingersoll’s works.

The panel of judges for this year’s contest, the third of its kind, will include Susan Jacoby, author of The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought, released earlier this year.

About Robert Ingersoll
Ingersoll was an advocate for racial equality, birth control, women’s rights, Darwin’s theory of evolution, Shakespeare, free speech, and voting rights for Washington, D.C. His most popular speeches were openly critical of religion and the Bible while advocating a humanistic philosophy.

He delivered more than 1,200 speeches to packed houses across the country in the late 1800s, all of them documented in a 12-volume set of his works. After he moved his family to Washington in 1878, he lived, worked and spoke here for seven years. He was a Civil War veteran and a very successful lawyer and political speaker. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Yet he has been neglected and largely forgotten by history. Organizers created this contest to revive his message.

Contest Details
The contest will take place at noon on Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Dupont Circle, in the heart of Washington.

In case of rain, the event will be held nearby at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant and Bar, One Dupont Circle NW.

Registration
Registration deadline is June 15. Hurry! The event is limited to 15 contestants. See the rules for competitors. Register here.

Prizes
First Place: $250. Second Place: $150. Third Place: $100. Fourth Place: $50. Other items may also be awarded. All contestants will receive a certificate.

Audience
The free event is open to the public. All are invited to bring a blanket or chair and applaud their favorite selection or speaker.

Post-contest gathering
In the spirit of Ingersoll’s love of socializing, after the contest all are welcome to join together at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant and Bar, One Dupont Circle NW. Susan Jacoby will be on hand to sign copies of her book, The Great Agnostic.

More information
Questions? Send an e-mail to: Ingersoll@wash.org or call and leave a message at 202-657-6346. Photos and videos of the two previous contests can be found on this website.

Sponsors
Washington Area Secular Humanists
Center for Inquiry DC
American Humanist Association
Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum,a project of the Council for Secular Humanism.

Videos of 2010 Ingersoll Oratory Contest

The videos of the 2010 Ingersoll Oratory Contest are now available to view at the Center For Inquiry YouTube web channel.

Search for :  2010 Ingersoll

There are eleven videos in all.  Below is a list and link to each of them.

It was a long time getting them up but we thank CFI for putting them on their channel for all to see.

It was a GREAT contest !  Thanks to all the sponsors, contestants, and volunteers who put it together.

Steven LOWE

Washington, DC

202 636 5121

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Intro Part 1 (1/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Intro Part 2 (2/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Eva Ingersoll (3/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Kevin Slaughter (4/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Donald B. Ardell (5/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Tony Toledo (6/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Wendy Shore (7/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Craig Howell (8/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Steven E. Jones (9/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Joseph Ben-David (10/11)

Ingersoll Oratory Contest 2010 – Certificate Awards (11/11)

Announcement of 2010 Contest

Second Annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest – 2010

Noon on Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

 Robert G. Ingersoll, known as The Great Agnostic, was a famous 19th century orator and outspoken critic of religion.  He was an advocate for racial equality, birth control, women’s rights, Darwin’s theory of evolution, Shakespeare, free speech, and voting rights for Washington, DC. 

 He delivered over 1,200 speeches to packed houses across the country in the late 1800s, all of them documented in a 12-volume set of his works.  After he moved his family to Washington, DC, in 1878, he lived, worked and spoke here for seven years.  He was a Civil War veteran and a very successful lawyer and political speaker.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Yet he has been neglected and largely forgotten by history.  To revive his message and popularity we are announcing:

 The Second Annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest

 Up to 15 contestants will each deliver a brief excerpt from Robert G. Ingersoll’s works.  A panel of judges will evaluate and award prizes for the best performance.  

 Sign up to be a contestant, or just come to hear the outrageous blasphemy and rhetoric of this undeservedly forgotten American orator. 

Bring your blanket or chair and applaud your favorite selection or speaker.  No chairs will be provided.  

Noon on Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

 In case of rain, the contest will still be held nearby at :

James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar,      One Dupont Circle, NW.    tel.: 202-223-8440.

 REGISTRATION

Registration deadline is October 17, 2010. Contestants pay a fee of $20.

Hurry!  The contest is limited to 15 contestants.

For information on how to register, see the contest Web site at ingersollcontest.wordpress.com  

Questions?  Send an e-mail to: Ingersoll@wash.org

or call and leave a message at 202-657-6346

 PRIZES

  • First Place:       $150   
  • Second Place$100
  • Third Place:       $75
  • Fourth Place:     $50

in addition to cash, other items may also be awarded. All contestants will receive a certificate.

 This free public event is sponsored by:


 Ingersoll’s speeches may be found, among other places, at:

 

Photos and videos of last year’s contest can be seen at the Contest web site.

 

Some Quotations of Ingersoll:

 The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.
Robert Green Ingersoll, “The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called “faith.” 

Robert Green Ingersoll, The Gods

This century will be called Darwin’s century.  He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers……. the Bible is a book written by ignorance — at the instigation of fear. …….Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts.
Robert Green Ingersoll, “Orthodoxy”

The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray.

Robert Green Ingersoll

 The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church.  Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.

Robert Green Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses,

 Contest Web site:

ingersollcontest.wordpress.com

Post Contest News article about the Contest

ROBERT G. INGERSOLL ORATORY CONTEST BRINGS ‘THE GREAT AGNOSTIC’ TO LIFE

Washington, DC, October 2009 — The words of Robert Green Ingersoll, the 19th century “Great Agnostic,” rang out in Washington’s Dupont Circle in October as 14 people competed for prizes by reading excerpts of his lectures, essays, and other writings.

The participants in the first annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest brought to life Ingersoll’s critiques of religion, defense of women’s rights and civil rights, and homage to Thomas Paine. The contest was sponsored by the Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH), the Center for Inquiry DC, and the American Humanist Association as a way to revive interest in Ingersoll–a great orator, Civil War veteran, successful lawyer and political speaker who has been neglected by history.

The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, a project of the Council for Secular Humanism, also offered support to the Oct. 4 contest, which was held outdoors so that Ingersoll’s message could be heard by the general public.

The top prize, awarded by a panel of three local judges, went to James B. Tinsley of Fort Smith, Ark., a writer, historian and historical character performer who runs a Robert Green Ingersoll Renewal and Restoration Project. (More information is available at www.rgingersollprojectblog.com.) He says when he discovered Ingersoll in college, he realized he had “found a truly honest and brilliant kindred spirit.” He adds: “I was also dumbfounded to discover that neither I, nor anyone I spoke with, had ever heard of Ingersoll.”

Tinsley read passages – completely from memory — from Ingersoll’s lectures “The Gods” and
“Thomas Paine.”

He won $150 and a rare original period poster including a color gravure photo of Ingersoll with his grandchildren, a quote from “Love,” and a facsimile signature.

The other winners were:

Second place: Jamila Bey of Washington, DC, who read Ingersoll’s essay “What I Want for Christmas.” She won $100 and two books by Ingersoll, On the Gods and Other Essays and Superstition and Other Essays.

Third Place: Stuart Jordan of Greenbelt, Md., a volunteer science adviser to the Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy. He read an excerpt from Ingersoll’s lecture “The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child.” He won $75 and an audio CD of selected Ingersoll works read by a Shakespearean actor.

Fourth Place: Tie between Saul Penn of Silver Spring, Md., a retired systems analyst, and Lynne Williamson of Arlington, Va., a program manager. Penn read excerpts of two lectures, “What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?” and “The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child” (focusing on a critique of Napoleon Bonaparte). Williamson read excerpts from Ingersoll’s preface to Helen Hamilton Gardener’s book Men, Women and Gods. The two contestants shared a $50 prize.

About 75 or 80 people attended the Ingersoll contest, including numerous passersby who stopped to watch or take fliers about the event. The organizers were heartened by the response to their initial effort and plan to make the competition an annual event. “We will work next year to spread the word about the contest even further so we can help educate Americans about an important part of their heritage,” said Steven Lowe, a WASH board member who led the contest’s planning efforts.

For more information about the contest, including videos of the presentations, see http://ingersollcontest.wordpress.com. Write to Ingersoll@wash.com with questions or comments.

Suzanne Perry

Ingersoll photo Tinsley and Lowe

First Place Winner, James Tinsley and MC, Steven LOWE

Ingersoll Photo Bey

Second Place Winner, Jamila Bey

Post Contest News article about the Contest

ROBERT G. INGERSOLL ORATORY CONTEST BRINGS ‘THE GREAT AGNOSTIC’ TO LIFE

Washington, DC, October 2009 — The words of Robert Green Ingersoll, the 19th century “Great Agnostic,” rang out in Washington’s Dupont Circle in October as 14 people competed for prizes by reading excerpts of his lectures, essays, and other writings.

The participants in the first annual Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest brought to life Ingersoll’s critiques of religion, defense of women’s rights and civil rights, and homage to Thomas Paine. The contest was sponsored by the Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH), the Center for Inquiry DC, and the American Humanist Association as a way to revive interest in Ingersoll–a great orator, Civil War veteran, successful lawyer and political speaker who has been neglected by history.

The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, a project of the Council for Secular Humanism, also offered support to the Oct. 4 contest, which was held outdoors so that Ingersoll’s message could be heard by the general public.

The top prize, awarded by a panel of three local judges, went to James B. Tinsley of Fort Smith, Ark., a writer, historian and historical character performer who runs a Robert Green Ingersoll Renewal and Restoration Project. (More information is available at www.rgingersollprojectblog.com.) He says when he discovered Ingersoll in college, he realized he had “found a truly honest and brilliant kindred spirit.” He adds: “I was also dumbfounded to discover that neither I, nor anyone I spoke with, had ever heard of Ingersoll.”

Tinsley read passages – completely from memory — from Ingersoll’s lectures “The Gods” and
“Thomas Paine.”

He won $150 and a rare original period poster including a color gravure photo of Ingersoll with his grandchildren, a quote from “Love,” and a facsimile signature.

The other winners were:

Second place: Jamila Bey of Washington, DC, who read Ingersoll’s essay “What I Want for Christmas.” She won $100 and two books by Ingersoll, On the Gods and Other Essays and Superstition and Other Essays.

Third Place: Stuart Jordan of Greenbelt, Md., a volunteer science adviser to the Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy. He read an excerpt from Ingersoll’s lecture “The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child.” He won $75 and an audio CD of selected Ingersoll works read by a Shakespearean actor.

Fourth Place: Tie between Saul Penn of Silver Spring, Md., a retired systems analyst, and Lynne Williamson of Arlington, Va., a program manager. Penn read excerpts of two lectures, “What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?” and “The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child” (focusing on a critique of Napoleon Bonaparte). Williamson read excerpts from Ingersoll’s preface to Helen Hamilton Gardener’s book Men, Women and Gods. The two contestants shared a $50 prize.

About 75 or 80 people attended the Ingersoll contest, including numerous passersby who stopped to watch or take fliers about the event. The organizers were heartened by the response to their initial effort and plan to make the competition an annual event. “We will work next year to spread the word about the contest even further so we can help educate Americans about an important part of their heritage,” said Steven Lowe, a WASH board member who led the contest’s planning efforts.

For more information about the contest, including videos of the presentations, see http://ingersollcontest.wordpress.com. Write to Ingersoll@wash.com with questions or comments.

Suzanne Perry

Ingersoll photo Tinsley and Lowe

First Place Winner, James Tinsley and MC, Steven LOWE

Ingersoll Photo Bey

Second Place Winner, Jamila Bey

Photos of 2009 Contest available on Picasa

You are invited to view Icepick’s photo album: Robert G Ingersoll Oratory Contest

Robert G Ingersoll Oratory ContestDupont Circle, Washington, D.C. -Oct 4, 2009
by Icepick

View Album
Play slideshow

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.