The Great Debaters
Debate is blood sport. It's combat. But your weapons are words.
- Melvin Tolson
Inspired by a true story, The Great Debaters chronicles the journey of Professor Melvin Tolson, a brilliant but volatile debate team coach who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small African American college in the deep south into a historically elite debate team. A controversial figure, Professor Tolson challenged the social mores of the time and was under constant fire for his unconventional and ferocious teaching methods as well as his radical political views. In their pursuit for excellence, Tolson’s debate team receives a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard University’s championship team.
Professor Tolson: Who is the judge?
As you view the film, watch for the use of the following persuasive terms and speaking techniques: