“Best of Both Worlds”

2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “King Classic” 
Debate Tournament Social Justice Debates
Friday through Sunday, October 4-6, 2019


With great enthusiasm, I extend a warm invitation to your program to attend the fourth annual “King Classic,” which has been named after one of the greatest debaters in American history, and an alumnus of Morehouse College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This year we intend to offer NPDA-style parliamentary debate (open and novice). We look forward to offering you a well-run, punctual, and enjoyable tournament. In addition, this year we have combined the King Classic with the Social Justice Warm Up Debates. 

The Social Justice Debates are an annual intercollegiate debate series founded by Morehouse College and The George Washington University. The only intercollegiate debate series in the world dedicated to social justice topics, the Social Justice Debates aspire to promote productive and rigorous debates challenging current and future thought leaders to consider issues of justice in relation to the distribution of wealth, opportunity, and privilege in U.S. society. The Social Justice Debates are a civic debate education program coordinated by the Civic Debate Conference. 

The 2019-20 Social Justice Debates will challenge diverse groups of students drawn from across the nation to come together to engage the question of whether reparations ought be provided to U.S. citizens descended from slaves. The series will culminate in a US national championship tournament held at Morehouse College on Martin Luther King, Jr., Weekend.  Morehouse and Howard University in Washington, D.C., are both hosting “warm up” social justice debates to help students prepare for the national championship in January. We hope this unique combined event will allow your students to explore two different types of debate in one weekend. 

The schedule has been designed to include training for judges who need it, various social justice topics will be released 20 minutes in advance of the debate for King Classic debates, which will utilize a parliamentary debate format, and offer 10 minutes of judge feedback.  The Social Justice debates rounds will utilize the same civic debate format used in the past for these debates. All students competing in “Open” will be able to compete in both King Classic and Social Justice debate rounds, while the Novice division will be reserved for those in their first year of intercollegiate debate (regardless of experience) seeking only to debate in the NPDA format.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail.  We look forward to seeing you.


Professor Kenneth A. Newby, Esq. 

Director of Morehouse College Forensics


Friday, October 4 

  • 5:00 p.m. Registration/Check-In
  • 5:30 p.m. Judge Briefing
  • 6:00 p.m. Parli Draw Round 1  
  • 6:50 p.m. Parli Round 1

Saturday, October 5 

  • 8:30 a.m. Registration/Check-In
  • 9:00 a.m. Social Justice Judge Briefing
  • 9:30 a.m. Social Justice Round 1  
  • 11:00 a.m. Parliamentary Draw Round 2  
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunch on Your Own 
  • 1:30 p.m. Social Justice Round 2  
  • 3:00 p.m. Parliamentary Draw Round 3
  • 4:30 p.m. Social Justice Round 3  
  • 5:30 p.m. Parliamentary Draw Round 4
  • 7:00 p.m. Quarter Finals Draw

Sunday, October 6

  • 8:30 a.m. Parliamentary Quarter Finals Draw
  • 9:00 a.m. Social Justice Judge Briefing
  • 9:30 a.m. Social Justice Semi Finals
  • 11:00 a.m. Social Justice Finals
  • 12:00 p.m.   Lunch on Your Own 
  • 1:00 p.m. Parli Semi Finals Draw
  • 2:30 p.m. Parli Finals Draw

**Teams seeking to ONLY compete in Social Justice rounds may do so, however, break to Semifinals will be determined by win percentage, so a team going 2-1 in Social Justice rounds will have an equal chance to break as a team going 4-2 in the Combined-Open Division.

***The Parli Debate Break will be determined based on a team’s entire record from the Combined-Open Division.


Schools are encouraged to submit resolutions based on social justice topics for Parliamentary rounds. All topics debate during the weekend will be social justice topics. Schools should limit their resolution suggestions to 3. At his discretion, the Tournament Director shall exclude resolutions for Parliamentary rounds based on duplicity, improper phrasing, repetitiveness from previous tournaments, etc. Please also indicate your entry size in Parliamentary rounds. The deadline for submitting resolutions shall be 5:00 p.m. on September 20. The topic areas for the tournament will be released publicly by Monday, September 23.  


All of the rules guiding the NPDA apply to the Parliamentary Rounds including the use of flex time.  The format of the debate will be as follows:

  • First Proposition Constructive Speaker: 7 minutes
  • Opposition Flex Time: 2 minutes
    • First Opposition Constructive Speaker: 8 minutes
  • Proposition Flex Time: 2 minutes
    • Second Proposition Constructive Speaker: 8 minutes
  • Opposition Flex Time: 1 minute
    • Second Opposition Constructive Speaker: 8 minutes
      Opposition Rebuttal by First Speaker: 4 minutes
  • Proposition Flex Time: 1 minute
    • Proposition Rebuttal by First Speaker: 5 minutes

For more information on the rules governing this format, please visit: https://www.parlidebate.org/npda-rules

There will be speaker awards for the top competitors, awards for all elimination rounds in each division, and sweepstakes trophies for the top 3 programs in the Parliamentary rounds.

The sweepstakes formula will be as follows counting only a school’s top four teams: 2 points for each NPDA win.


All Social Justice rounds will debate the following resolution: The United States Federal Government should provide direct compensation to all African-Americans who descended from slaves as reparations for slavery.

All of the Social Justice Rounds will follow the guidelines and format used at past Social Justice Debates:

The Affirmative team will speak first.  Each team will present three six minute speeches. Each six minute speech will be followed by a four minute cross examination by the opposing team. 

  • 1st Affirmative Speech: 6 minutes 
    • Cross Examination by Second Negative: 4 minutes 
  • 1st Negative Speech 
    • Cross Examination by First Affirmative: 4 minutes 
  • 2nd Affirmative Speech: 6 minutes 
    • Cross Examination by First Negative: 4 minutes 
  • 2nd Negative Speech 
    • Cross Examination by Second Affirmative: 4 minutes 
  • 2 Minutes Preparation Time
  • Closing Affirmative Rebuttal – 6 minutes
  • 2 Minutes Preparation Time
  • Closing Negative Rebuttal – 6 minutes

For more information on the guidelines for the Social Justice rounds, please review the Judge Handbook and Rules located at:  https://www.social-justice-debates.org/2019-20.php

There will be three divisions of debate.  Combined-Open (consisting of 3 Parliamentary rounds and 3 Social Justice rounds), NPDA-Novice (which will follow the same topics as Combined Open so the Social Justice Topic will be debated three times, but the NPDA format will be used for ALL rounds), Social Justice Warm Up Only (which will require students to only debate in the three Social Justice rounds). Please note that Novice means anyone in their first year of collegiate debating regardless of high school experience. 

Please note Flex Time is not intended as a substitute for POIs, and all teams are expected to ask and answer at least one POI during the debate (preferably two).


The entry deadline will be 4:30 p.m. Friday, September 20. Changes will be accepted at no charge until 4:30 pm on Wednesday, September 25.  Any drops or changes after that date will be charged a nuisance fee of $20.00.

Fees for each team entry in the Parliamentary Tournament is $50.00.  If there are financial issues please advise as the cost is intended to defray tournament costs, not to make a profit.   

PLEASE BRING JUDGES: Uncovered competitors for team debates is $75.  Morehouse will have some judges, but not enough to cover the tournament.  Please note we prefer your judges to your hired money.

Registration and Parking

Registration will be held in Sale Hall Chapel.  Parking spots are available on campus at no charge on the weekend, but you must park at cost in our parking deck on Friday. 

Please see the campus map for more details about location of buildings and parking: https://www.morehouse.edu/about/pdf/Campus-Map.pdf


  • From the North/Downtown From I-75/85 South to I-20 West. Take Exit 55B, which is Lee Street/Ft. McPherson/Atlanta University Center. Turn right at the traffic light onto Westview Drive and proceed two blocks to the campus.
  • From the South/Hartsfield International Airport From I-75/85 North to I-20 West. Take Exit 55B, which is Lee Street/Ft. McPherson/Atlanta University Center. Turn right at the traffic light onto Westview Drive and proceed two blocks to the campus.
  • From the East/From I-20 West. Take Exit 55B, which is Lee Street/Ft. McPherson/Atlanta University Center. Turn right at the traffic light onto Westview Drive and proceed two blocks to the campus.
  • From the West/From I-20 East. Take Exit 55A, which is Joseph Lowery Blvd./West End. Turn left onto Joseph Lowery Blvd. and proceed through four traffic lights. At the fourth traffic light, turn right onto West End Avenue. Turn left at the next light, which is Westview Drive, and proceed to campus.

Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport North Tel. (404) 477-6600 – Avg. Rate $95                      I-85 North and Virginia Ave., 3437 Bobby Brown Parkway, East Point, GA 30344


  • Holiday Inn Atlanta Capitol Conference Center   Tel. 404-591-2000 – Avg. Rate $99;      450 Capitol Ave SW, Atlanta, GA, 30312 United States
  • Castleberry Inn& Suites Tel. 404-893-4663 – Avg. Rate $91                                              186 Northside Dr SW, Atlanta, GA, 30313 United States
  • Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Airport North Tel. 404-559-1043 – Avg. Rate $63            3399 International Blvd, Hapeville, GA, 30354 United States