Great Debaters Rematch After 77 Years

Wiley College and USC to hold rematch of 1935 debate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    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 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. Tolson's teams traveled a deeply segregated country during the 1930s, acquiring an impressive string of victories against black and white opponents.

    The movie climaxes with a fictional debate against Harvard that was modeled on the real 1935 meeting at USC in California.