Some topics for high school declamation pieces include speeches by famous U.S. political figures such as "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln's "The Gettysburg Address." Additional topics include recitations of poems by notable poets including Walt Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain" and statements made by notable public figures such as Louis Gehrig's "Farewell to Baseball."
In Lou Gehrig's "Farewell to Baseball," the legendary baseball player spoke of his many fortunes and blessings during his years of playing professional baseball. Gehrig emotionally spoke of people who helped him in his life and professional career. He said that, despite his current situation, he had many reasons to continue to live with joy and that he considers himself lucky.
"O Captain, My Captain" is a sorrowful piece that expresses sadness for the end of a period in life. The subjects of the piece include heroism and grieving at the arrival of a person's death. The poet emotionally expresses pride at the life that the deceased lived but sorrow that the person died.
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. He raises several changes that he would like to see happen in society and he proceeds each wish with the phrase "I have a dream." King discusses the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation and the hope that the proclamation ending slavery provided to the many slaves. King expressed dismay that many years after the Emancipation Proclamation, minorities in the United States still suffer injustices that inhibit true freedom. In his speech, King implores people throughout the United States to work for true freedom and equality.