DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - A rematch will be held Friday of the 1935 debate that saw small, historically black Wiley College prevail over the nationally known University of Southern California.
The exhibition debate will be held at Wiley in the small town of Marshall near Texas’ border with Louisiana. Those participating say it’s a chance to celebrate the connection between the two schools.
The Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensics Society of Wiley College will host the debate with USC, which will take place on the Wiley campus during its Ethical Student Leadership Conference.
The accomplishments of Wiley’s debate team under the leadership of noted poet Melvin B. Tolson inspired “The Great Debaters,” a 2007 movie starring Denzel Washington. The movie climaxes with a fictional debate against Harvard that was modeled on the real 1935 meeting at USC in California, before an audience of 1,100 people.
Tolson’s teams traveled a deeply segregated country during the 1930s, acquiring an impressive string of debate victories against black and white opponents.
Named in honor of Bishop Isaac T. Wiley, Wiley College was founded in 1873. The college is a historically black, primarily liberal arts, residential, co-educational, baccalaureate degree-granting institution affiliated with The United Methodist Church.
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