Debs in Our Voices: a Community Reading

Mayor Proclaims June 16 “Debs Day” in Terre Haute

June 16, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Eugene V. Debs’ most famous speech in Canton, Ohio and the Debs Foundation of Terre Haute is commemorating the date by offering the public an opportunity to read the speech in their own voices from the porch of the Debs Home and Museum at 451 North 8th Street, Terre Haute. Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett has declared the day “Eugene V. Debs Day” in the city.

Events will begin at 10 am with tours of the Debs home and a Labor History Tour of Terre Haute marking significant places in Terre Haute and Debs history which made the city a mecca for working class people and their cause. Pre-registration for the Labor tour can be found here. The tour will conclude at the Debs grave site in Highland Lawn cemetery in Terre Haute with a short memorial service at 11:30 am.

The 10am tour is now full, but in response to popular demand, a second tour has been scheduled from 1pm until 3pm. Registration is through the form above.

From noon until 4, visitors to the home will be invited to read portions of Debs’ Canton speech from the porch and to gather in the back yard to share Debs stories and inspiration. All the events are free and open to the public.

Eugene V. Debs was born and raised in Terre Haute and served as City Clerk, as well as Representative to the Indiana Legislature. He helped establish the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, a national union based in Terre Haute and was a founder of the American Railway Union, which led to a 6-month sentence for his leadership of the Pullman Strike in 1894. He embraced the ideals of Socialism and helped found The American Socialist Party and was the party’s Presidential Candidate five times, the last time running from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary where he was serving a 10 year sentence for his Canton speech. He received almost a million votes in 1920 while incarcerated.

Although not all his neighbors agreed with his politics, the town embraced its most famous son. When he was released from prison, over 25,000 of his friends and neighbors greeted his return to Terre Haute. He was a friend to all, and his kindness was universally admired.

Come join the Eugene V. Debs Foundation in commemorating Debs and the right to free speech on June 16, 2018.