2013 Contest


  1. 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.

  2. 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

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