The Great Debaters is inspired by the remarkable story of Wiley College’s winning debate team of the early 1930s. Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South, THE GREAT DEBATERS chronicles the journey of the Wiley College debate team – coached by the brilliant and passionate professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington).
It was Tolson’s recognition that the power of knowledge is the greatest advantage of all, which brought these students from underdogs to victors in a time when more than the odds were against them.
This fictional story was inspired by the passion, dedication and teachings of Melvin B. Tolson.
Academy Award winner Denzel Washinton (Training Day, Glory) directs as well as stars alongside fellow Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland). The film also stars Kimberly Elise (Beloved) and John Heard (Home Alone).
“Because I grew up at Wiley from the age of four as a “campus brat”, for me the movie is more than a great story – it is a part of my life. As such, it inspires not only great pride, but gratifying moments of reflection.”
Clarice Lowe, Former Dean Texas Southern University School of Communications
“It’s well worth seeing by the entire family.”
Dr. Thomas Freeman, Texas Southern University Debate Coach (Denzel Washington Debate Advisor)