Dr. Elena Lattarulo
26 Aug 2010
The Great Debaters brings viewers back to a time in American history where the discrimination between races was a very hot issue. The Great Debaters illustrated the black experience, by depicting the many challenges blacks were faced with in their daily struggles. In this film discrimination was a key element, and it was through debates that, the black community expressed their grievances indirectly in the 1930s. The Great Debaters is based on a true story. In Texas in 1935, Wiley College put together a debate team lead by Melvin Tolson. Tolson was a respected professor, but he had Communist political leanings which scared a lot of people. This being the South in the early part of the 20th century, racism was still rampant. Tolson was determined to put together a terrific debate team; one that could barnstorm the country, including white universities and showcase the black talent. After finding a foursome to lead the charge, Tolson has to lead them, not only to victory in debate, but to victory over the abject racism that surrounds them. He was loved by the students, and he loved them back. He had a rather controversial approach to teaching, which was from the point of view of discriminating and judgmental mind.
Jones 2 I had minimal knowledge of the movie, basically a debate team from a small southern town, all African-American school in the 1930s that beat Harvard. Now, after seeing the movie, I can see why the film has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture. The film, while focusing heavily on race relations in the South, and not as much on debating as one would think, it did so in a way that I was able to relate to both sides of the student's lives academic and personal. Scenes in the film were difficult to watch, it put me in the same emotional...
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