Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Great Debaters

The Great Debaters
DVD, 2007, PG-13

Based on a true story, The Great Debaters is about the 1935 Wiley College debate team from Marshall, Texas, who broke the color barrier to take on national champion Harvard (in real life it was USC, but let’s not quibble) and won. It’s a wonderful movie, evocative of the era and well worth showing in its entirety, but we show the last two scenes but one, #23 (The Harvard Debate) & #24 (Victory.) The students debated civil disobedience, Wiley invoking Thoreau and Gandhi and Harvard taking the side of the rule of law. It is an excellent conversation starter to accompany the reading of Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” in lesson seven.

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