Wiley College and USC Will Repeat Famous 1935 Debate Match
Little Wiley College in Marshall, Texas made history in 1935, when its debate team dethroned the powerful and formidable debate team from the University of Southern California and won the national championship.
It was history because the students from Wiley were the first African-American debate team to win the national debating championship.
The movie, “The Great Debaters,” changed a key fact in the story, just for dramatic effect. In the movie, Wiley is shown debating Harvard and winning.
The true story is that the University of Southern California was the top debating team in the nation at the time, and Wiley went to California to debate USC. And won.
Now, a new generation of Wiley College debaters will debate USC again, this time in Marshall. The Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensics Society of Wiley College will host an exhibition debate with USC on Janunary 27, 2012 on the Wiley Campus during its Ethical Student Leadership Conference.
This will be the first meeting of the two schools since their famous debate in 1935.
Wiley College, founded in 1873, is a historically black, private baccalaureate degree-granting institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church.