HBCU Speech and Debate Tournament

The 2022 HBCU Speech and Debate Tournament of the HBCU Speech and Debate Association

“HBCU Nationals was an important gauge of my current presentational skills and gave me an experience that was truly unique. We’re coming for you, Texas Southern, Tennessee State, Howard!”

The National HBCU Speech and Debate Tournament is the signature event of the National Speech and Debate Association, an organization founded four years ago. The inaugural tournament was held at Wiley College which is the home of the famous Great Debaters. The special guest for the closing banquet was none other than Denzel Washington.

Marshall Members

Marshall Members finishing an Impromptu Speech Round during the April 2-3 HBCU Speech and Debate Tournament.

This year, B-CU was represented by freshman Amir M. Moore, sophomores Scott Bandy and Zhaedyn Hodge-Sigars, and senior Heavonly Boykin. Competing against such HBCUs as Howard, Hampton, Florida Memorial, Texas Southern, Tennessee State, Prairie View, Wiley, Rust, Philander Smith, and other HBCUs, Marshall Society members performed with magnificent grace under fire and made us all proud! Students competed in Impromptu Speaking and debated such topics as, The Olympics should have a permanent location;" “Social Media is destroying civic culture,” “Amazon should be broken up;” “California should be split into separate states;” “The Death Penalty ought to be outlawed once and for all,” and “US Infrastructure should be addressed before Russian sanctions.” About working with his fellow debaters, freshman Amir Moore, said, “HBCU Nats reignited the excitement I have when I work as a team member to achieve victory.”

A highlight of the day was having guest coaches work with each of the debaters during 30 minutes of prep for each round. Rotating from debater to debater, Dr. Mu-tor Flood, Dr. Vibert White, and Mr. Craig Robinson helped debaters identify specific arguments and strategy.

With a maximum prep time of 3 minutes, students were given a choice of two quotes. Some examples are, “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” - Nikki Giovanni; “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” - Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. - Nelson Mandela. 

All novices to forensic competition and HBCU Nationals, Mr. Hodge-Sigars reached the octofinals and then quarter-finals for Debate. Mr. Moore completed all Debate and Impromptu Speech rounds. A judge from one of the rounds left this comment for Amir, “You are amazingly clever and smart. Your analysis was spot on and I was easily convinced by your logic.” The honor for the national Third Place Winner in Impromptu Speaking belongs to our own Scott Bandy! B-CU also won the “Small School Sweepstakes.” This award goes to the institution whose contestants earn the highest number of total points while having the lowest number of entries! Awards this year were NFTs!  Marshall member Hodge-Sigars’ comment captured the sentiment of each member when he said about competing in this year’s speech and debate tournament, “It helped me realize my strength and weaknesses but mostly my potential.”

Zhaedyn Hodge-Sigars

30 Minute Debate Prep: Zhaedyn

Hodge-Sigars working with Guest

Coach, Dr. Vibert White.

Ami Moore

30 Minute Debate Prep: Amir

Moore working with Guest Coach

Dr. Vibert White

The Marshall Society is open to all students regardless of classification or major. While the 2021 and 2022 tournaments were virtual, 2023 will see the members traveling to Virginia State for the annual event. For more information, contact Dr. Claudette McFadden at 386-481-2753 or 241 McClaney (FA).