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Released December 18, 2012

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Greenville, SC

Mike Chatman, Event Chairman

Joseph Vaughn Oratorical Contest

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration 2013
Oratorical Contest Deadline extended to January 4

GREENVILLE, SC: The deadline for submitting the application for the Joseph Vaughn Oratorical Contest has been extended to January 4, 2013. The $10 application fee has been waived. Speeches will be still due on January 18th.

We hope that these changes will encourage more High School Students to apply for what we think is a valuable experience for High School Students in the Greenville Community. We ask that each adult encourage and work with at least one student and get them to participate in this competition. Thank you for your help and support. If you have any questions about the contest please contact Event Chair, Mike Chatman, with any questions at (864) 735-0880 or emailing

The purpose of the competition is to encourage oratorical skill among student in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mr. Joseph Vaughn, who was the first African-American Student at Furman University. The Competition is split into preliminary judging and a final competition in which the student will asked to deliver their speech. Contestants are judged on Speech Development, Effectiveness, Correctness, Speech Value. Final elements will add physical appearance, voice, mannerism, and appropriateness to the judging criteria. The contest was first held in 2008 at the Chapel on Furman University campus. A theme is selected by MLK Planning Committee each year and several prizes are given to participant based on they are judged in the Contest. Full details for this year's competition are include the contest packet.

Brief History of Joseph Vaughn's Enrollment at Furman University

On February 2, 1965, four African-Americans enrolled at Furman. Three were graduate students in education; the other was freshman Joe Vaughn. Mr. Vaughn's enrollment was the result of concerted effort to enroll him which started in 1963.

Vaughn proved to be a model student. An English major, he excelled in class, served as head cheerleader, coordinated important campus forums, and volunteered in the Service Corps. Witty and outgoing, he made friends quickly and easily. His smile was like a beam of sunlight; it radiated warmth and joy.

After graduating from Furman, Vaughn went on to earn master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina and the University of Georgia. From 1969 to 1982 he taught in the Greenville County schools, and in 1981 he was elected president of the South Carolina Education Association, a position he held for almost a decade. He died in 1991, having contracted inoperable cancer.


Download Joseph Vaugh Oratorial package (PDF)
Entry by Jnauary 4th, Speech must be submmited by January 18, 2013

First of All, Servants of All, We shall Transcend All