Great Debators

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Cheyenne Briner
English 12A
Mrs. Schuetz
28 November 2012
Valuable Lessons
The movie, The Great Debators starring Denzel Washington, was about a black debate team traveling from city to city and/or town to town to compete with other debate teams. It took place in Marshall, Texas, home to Wiley College, where, in 1935-36, Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly-undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and Negro colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University's national champions. After watching this movie I learned three valuable lessons: Determination can get a person anywhere in life. In this movie they were faced with the fact they were black debaters. Other colleges that were white based did not want to debate against them. They often sent letters of invitations to other colleges around their area, and many of them didn’t even bother to read the letter. But the team was determined and competes against the teams who did respond and accept their invitation. Professor Tolson, the coach, kept pushing his team to do their best on every debate so they could gain respect, leading to an undefeated season. Even then Harvard University would not answer their invitation. It wasn’t until they won against the second place national champions. Hardships and obstacles can be overturned. The team of four, which includes a female student, is tested in a crucible heated by Jim Crow, sexism, a lynch mob, an arrest and near riot, a love affair, jealousy, and a national radio audience. There was a part in the movie where they were traveling home from a debate and they saw a fire burning in the woods, which turn out to be an African American being hung and burned by a white angry mob. The female student and another male student, on the team of four, were having a love affair until one day the young lady saw the young man kissing another female while they were resting for the debate the next morning. The...
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