Dallas 4th grader wins 2024 MLK oratory competition

Dozens of students in North Texas honored the late Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. by speaking about his legacy.

This past Friday, a group of Dallas ISD fourth and fifth graders participated in the 32nd annual Foley and Lardner MLK Junior Oratory Competition.

The young speakers were asked how they thought Dr. King would reflect on the past 60 years.

Fourth grader Aiden Body from Marsalis Elementary School in Dallas won the competition with his moving speech.


32nd Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition crowns winner at SMU

4th and 5th grade students from across Dallas delivered powerful speeches as part of the 32nd annual MLK Oratory Competition at SMU.

"Today is our payday. If someone says you can't have this job, say no, it's my payday. If someone says you have the wrong skin color, say no, it's my payday. If someone says you can't live here, say no, it's my payday. If someone says you can't go to this top college, say no, it's my payday," he said during his speech.

"How would Dr. King reflect in the 60 years since his 'I Have a Dream' speech? I think if he was still alive, he'd tell us it's now time to speak up and claim our money from the bank of freedom, prosperity and peace. Today is our payday," he continued.

Body joined FOX 4’s Good Day on Tuesday morning to talk about the competition.

He said winning felt like a dream come true like he was a celebrity.

The 9-year-old said he wants to be a police officer when he grows up. He got to meet the Dallas police chief after the competition.

"We talked about Dr. Martin Luther King, and he gave me his badge," he said. "I liked it.

Body and all the finalists took home a new Apple iPad and other prizes. He earned an extra $2,000 as the winner.