• Erik Fogel

Debate for All: The Bard Prison Debate Initiative

While our mission is that all elementary schools should have debate and speech teams in their schools... debate does not stop there! Debate is not simply for all grade levels in schools but also for everyone. #debate4all. This documentary series shows the incredible impacts of scholastic debate teams in prison. Indeed, it was Malcolm X who went from prison inmate to one of the world's great public speakers and civil rights advocates.

“But I will tell you that, right there in the prison, debating, speaking to a crowd, was as exhilarating to me as the discovery of knowledge through reading had been. Standing up there, the aces looking up at me, the things in my head coming out of my mouth, while my brain searched for the next best thing to follow what I was saying, and if I could sway them to my side by handling right, then I had won the debate – once my feet got wet, I was gone on debating. Whichever side of the selected subject was assigned to me, I’d track down and study everything I could find on it. I’d put myself in my opponent’s place and decide how I’d try to win if I had the other side; and then I’d figure a way to knock down those points” (Malcom X, 184).


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