The Great Debaters (2007)

PG-13
The Great Debaters
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TitleThe Great Debaters
Year2007
CountryUSA
GenreDrama (Movies)
Run Time2h 6 min
Director

Based on a true story, the plot revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson at Wiley College, a historically black college related to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now The United Methodist Church), to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a fear for blacks. The Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University. (In 1935, the Wiley College debate team defeated the reigning national debate champion, the University of Southern California, depicted as Harvard University in The Great Debaters).

The movie explores social constructs in Texas during the Great Depression, from day-to-day insults African Americans endured to lynching. Also depicted is James L. Farmer, Jr., who, at 14 years old, was on Wiley’s debate team after completing high school (and who later went on to co-found the Congress of Racial Equality). Another character on the team, Samantha Booke, is based on the real individual Henrietta Bell Wells, acclaimed poet and the only female member of the 1930 Wiley team who participated in the first collegiate interracial debate in the US.

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Date of download: 2015-11-11T17:22:34+00:00

The Great Debaters
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Cast:

Denzel Washington Denzel Washington
Melvin B. Tolson
Denzel Whitaker Denzel Whitaker
James Farmer Jr.
Forest Whitaker Forest Whitaker
Dr. James Farmer Sr.
Nate Parker Nate Parker
Henry Lowe
Jurnee Smollett Jurnee Smollett
Samantha Booke
Jermaine Williams Jermaine Williams
Hamilton Burgess
Gina Ravera Gina Ravera
Ruth Tolson
John Heard John Heard
Sheriff Dozier
Kimberly Elise Kimberly Elise
Pearl Farmer

Based on a true story, the plot revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson at Wiley College, a historically black college related to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now The United Methodist Church), to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a fear for blacks. The Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University. (In 1935, the Wiley College debate team defeated the reigning national debate champion, the University of Southern California, depicted as Harvard University in The Great Debaters).

The movie explores social constructs in Texas during the Great Depression, from day-to-day insults African Americans endured to lynching. Also depicted is James L. Farmer, Jr., who, at 14 years old, was on Wiley’s debate team after completing high school (and who later went on to co-found the Congress of Racial Equality). Another character on the team, Samantha Booke, is based on the real individual Henrietta Bell Wells, acclaimed poet and the only female member of the 1930 Wiley team who participated in the first collegiate interracial debate in the US.

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