History

Debs in Our Voices: Beyond Walls and Bars

Post-Event Update

Thank you to all volunteers, readers, and supporters who made this event a success. A recording of the program will be available on our YouTube channel shortly.

Join us!

On June 12, 2021, the Debs Foundation and Museum will recognize Debs Day and present Debs in Our Voices: Beyond Walls and Bars. This event will take place from 2-4 pm Eastern Time via Facebook Live.

Click here to watch on June 12 at 2 pm Eastern! The live video is accessible to anyone with or without a Facebook account.

Together, we will read selections from Debs’ writings on prisons and reflect on how his words speak to us today. This year’s program features performances by musical guests Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino of Magpie.

We need volunteer readers!

Click here and complete this form to sign up as a live reader for Debs in Our Voices.

About Walls & Bars
Exactly 100 years ago, Eugene V. Debs could be found 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 and 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 and 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 by June 8.