Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation, Inc. 

      P.O. Box 5263    |    Greenville, SC 29607  |     (864) 735-0880


 Joseph Vaughn
Oratorical Competition

for High School students

This competition for Local High School Students is co-sponsored by Furman University and Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation. 

The purpose of the competition is to encourage oratorical skill among students 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 ask 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 participants based on they are judged in the Contest. Full details for this year's competition include the contest packet (below).

Past Event:

February 15, 2020, 10 AM
Tabernacle Baptist Church
400 Hudson St, Greenville, South Carolina

Deadlines for Entry: January 17, 2020
Deadlines for Speeches: January 24, 2020
speeches are dues on that date.

February 6, 2020 -      Preliminary Competition
                                    (If needed, more than 15 contestants) TBD

February 12, 2020-     Feedback Session

Competition is limited to 35 Participants

The theme for 2020 was 

“What impactful strategies should be executed to encourage Millennial and Generation Z Citizens to engage in the electoral process?”

Event Chairs:  

Mike Chatman
Alpha Phi Alpha Foundation (864) 735-0880
Furman University  (864) 294-2503

Finals of Oratorical Competition in 2008

Announcing Winners at the 2014 Competition

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. 

Taken from "Furman University: Furman Remembers Its Trailblazer"
Bobby Clark,
Jan 4, 2020, 5:15 AM
Bobby Clark,
Feb 16, 2020, 6:16 AM