MLK Jr. Oratory Competition

Foley & Lardner LLP is proud to host the Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago. In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, the competition is designed to highlight the cultural diversity and talent of the community while recognizing and encouraging the writing and public speaking skills of elementary school students.

Each year, fourth- and fifth-grade students from Dallas, Houston, and Chicago ISD elementary schools are invited to compose and present original three-to-five minute speeches, incorporating ideals from Dr. King’s teachings, to address a pre-selected topic. The students’ speeches not only celebrate Dr. King’s enduring messages but also demonstrate how his words continue to impact and inspire their own lives.

Each local competition begins with virtual or in-school qualifying rounds, followed by semifinals and finals. At every level of the competition, students are evaluated on delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation, and memorization. The final rounds are judged by panels of prominent community and local business leaders.

The theme question for the 2022 competition is, “How would Dr. King assess our progress in achieving his vision for America?” 

The final round of Foley’s MLK Jr. Oratory Competition will occur in Dallas and Houston on Friday, January 14, 2022. The Chicago event has been postponed to a later date and will be announced on this page in the near future. 


When: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT
Where: W.H. Adamson High School
309 E 9th Street
Dallas, Texas 75203


When: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT
Where: HISD Headquarters
4400 West 18th Street
Houston, Texas 77092