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

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

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.

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



  1. You don’t tell us the time for the contest

  2. whoops, just saw it, but it’s a little buried. you might want to put it up top as well

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