2022 Themes

About the MLK Oratorical

  • More than four decades ago, the Founder of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Oratorical Fest, Donald Oliver had a vision. He wanted to showcase student’s oratorical skills and he wanted to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He felt that the testing/reading score data did not truly lift up students’ comprehension and fluency skills and abilities but he knew that delivering an oration was an academic exercise that required students to read and comprehend complex text in order to analyze, synthesize, interpret, critique, and present or perform that text (creating a new form through performance) in a competition in public speaking.


    This brings us to 2022 and the 43rd Annual OUSD Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Festival in which schools at all grade levels across Oakland have an opportunity to bring Donald Oliver's vision to their students. Below you find information about grade level divisions and the oratorical festival catagories. 

    Grade Level Divisions:

    • Pre-Kindergarten-2nd grade
    • 3rd-5th grade
    • 6th-8th grade
    • 9th-12th grade



    • Individual Performer – 1 Performer on Stage
      • Monologue - original or published in a script (3 min)
      • Poetry - published poetry (3 min)
      • Poetry - original poetry (poet performing poem they wrote, 3 min)
      • Speech - famous & not so famous – (3 min)
    • Two or More Performers on Stage Groups/Scenes
      • Poetry – published (up to 5 min)
      • Poetry - original (written by the performing poets, (up to 5 min)
      • Speech - famous & not so famous (up to 5 min)
      • Scene - published & devised (up to 5 min)

    Please see Divisions and Categories Information Details for number of entries allowed per school.

2022 Timeline

  • * The timeline has been updated as of May 12*
    3/1 - 3/9
    School Site Oratoricals, Live or Virtual
    3/8 – 3/11
    District-Wide Online Registration (CLICK HERE)
    District-Wide Online Registration Hard Deadline – all video links & forms must be submitted 
    Free Screenings
    HBO film Frederick Douglass: In 5 Speeches
    our country’s most famous anti-slavery activist
    Program Guide & Registration: https://sffilm.org/2022-satf-program/
    SF Film Fest: for questions, email Keith Zwolfer at kzwolfer@sffilm.org



    2022 MLK Oratorical Finals Showcase streaming now!
    District-Wide Winners Shout Out
    Ribbons and Medals Delivered to Schools

District Wide Registration

Contact Information


    Awele (ah WAY lay) Makeba tony.douangviseth@ousd.org

    Producer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Fest

    Cell | 510-601-0178 cell

    Skyline | 510-482-7109, Ext. 204