Bughouse Square Debates 2009 | WBEZ
Skip to main content


Bughouse Square Debates 2009

Listen in as Chicagoans exercise their first-amendment rights and relive the days of soapbox oratory and public debates that immortalized Washington Square Park. Celebrating Chicago's long history as a hub of free speech, the event featured soap boxers and a compelling main debate.

This year, relive the Lincoln-Douglas debates in honor of the Lincoln Bicentennial, with Michael Krebs taking the part of Lincoln, and Larry Diemer that of Douglas, and Rick Kogan serves as this year's emcee. 

The Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award is presented to Barbara Thill, a Lincolnshire high school teacher who actions to support free speech in her school's student newspaper embody the spirit of Bughouse Square and Governor John Peter Altgeld. 

Attendees brought their loudest heckling voice, and joined in the soapbox debates. 

This year's soapbox speakers* include:
- Jorge Mujica on immigration rights
- "The Parking Meter Geek" on Chicago's parking meter troubles
- Nora Rowley on Burma
- Herbert Caplan on the problems of artificial turf in Chicago's parks

*visit the Bughouse Square Blog for a complete list.

Recorded Saturday, July 25, 2009 at Washington Square Park.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.