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 celebrate Dr. King’s enduring messages and demonstrate how his words continue to impact and inspire their 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 topic for the 2024 competition is, “How would Dr. King reflect on the 60 years since his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech?”

The final round of Foley’s MLK Jr. Oratory Competition for each city will take place on Friday, January 12, 2024, at the following times and locations:


When: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT

Where: Foley’s Chicago Office
321 N Clark Street, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60654

View the full program here.


When: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT

Where: McFarlin Auditorium at SMU
6405 Boaz Ln.
Dallas, TX 75205

View the full program here.


When: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT

Where: Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ
500 Clay Street
Houston, TX 77002