Debs in Our Voices: Walls & Bars

Join us!

On June 20th, the Debs Foundation will recognize Debs Day and present Debs in Our Voices: Walls & Bars. This event will take place from 12-2 pm EDT via Facebook Live on our page,

Together, we will read selections from Walls & Bars and reflect on how Debs’ words speak to us today.

About Walls & Bars

Exactly 100 years ago, Eugene V. Debs was serving a ten-year prison sentence in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. His crime? Speaking out against the First World War in his famous Canton Speech of 1918. Undeterred, Debs led his fifth and final presidential campaign from his prison cell, earning nearly a million votes for the Socialist ticket in November of 1920.

Prison life profoundly affected Debs. As he experienced inhumane prison conditions, Debs also witnessed the common humanity of his fellow prisoners. He described these experiences in a series of articles and essays. In 1927, his brother Theodore published these writings in the volume Walls & Bars shortly after Eugene Debs’ death. Beyond simply describing prison life and conditions, Debs created a blueprint for solving the problems of incarceration by addressing what he saw as the root of crime: unmet social and economic needs. Walls & Bars connects crime and prisons to the economic conditions created by capitalism, forging a path to abolishing prisons as we know them by transforming our economic system.

How can I get involved?

We need readers to bring Debs’ words to life! If you’re interested in participating in Debs in Our Voices as a live reader, please complete this form.