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Howard University’s Speech and Debate Team Seeks Out New Members

Howard University’s award-winning speech and debate team held their interest week from Oct. 4 through Oct. 9. During this week, the team opened up the floor for prospective members to showcase their intellectual talents in the debating field and ignite motivation for new members to join the organization.

Howard University 2021-2022 Speech and Debate E-Board, Photo by Demetrick Conyers

Howard University’s award-winning speech and debate team held their interest week from Oct. 4 through Oct. 9. During this week, the team opened up the floor for prospective members to showcase their intellectual talents in the debating field and ignite motivation for new members to join the organization. 

Throughout the week, HU speech and debate hosted events to emulate what it is like to be an active member, and show that there is more to their craft than just disputing issues. 

A few of their events included a team meet and greet, a mock trial, the gift of gab debate and an open mic night in which prospective members could perform poems and debate various issues.

Troy White, a sophomore communications major and secretary of the HU speech and debate team, emphasizes how the team simulates the real world.

“It’s about building yourself as a person,” White said. “To step out in the real world and have skills to be able to argue and defend your point at any point in time. No matter what field you’re in, you’re going to have to sell yourself.”

The HU speech and debate team harvests talent and encourages other students to share their voices in an organized environment. Because HBCUs provide safe spaces for students to talk about important topics, the speech and debate team prioritizes student expression.

Kennedy Gentry, a sophomore political science and Spanish double-major, attests to the difficulties of having spaces for Black students to speak on issues that concern them from her perspective as a member of the speech and debate team. 

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“I feel like there’s a stigma around Black people and expressing their voice,” Gentry said. “It’s kind of associated with being loud or aggressive, and being on the debate team, you’re able to have a safe space. You can express your opinion and not have to worry about how people perceive you.”

HU speech and debate has accumulated many victories. In March 2020, the team won 19 awards in different categories and in 2019 they won the Great Debate against Harvard University. 

Angela Minor, the coach of Howard’s speech and debate team and associate of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, spoke on some of her favorite achievements of the debate team in past years. 

“One of my favorite accomplishments with the Howard University speech and debate team is to seeing the students win number one in the nation for Parliamentary debate two years in a row,” Minor said. “Having the team dominate in almost every category when you literally have 30-something HBCUs in attendance, but Howard consistently rises to the top.”

The speech and debate team continues to represent excellency and Howard’s great legacy. For more information about the speech and debate team, follow them on Instagram @therealhudebate.

Copy Edited by: N’dia Webb

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